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Vaccinated And Worried About Breakthrough Cases? Here’s The Math On Risks

With news reports on the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines and the risks of breakthrough infections, you may be wondering about the likelihood — especially if you got the vaccine to help protect a medically vulnerable loved one who can’t get it. Breakthrough cases are typically milder, but that’s small comfort to a parent who doesn’t want to unknowingly bring home illness to a young child.

(Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

So, what are the odds?

A New York Times article breaks it down, based on CDC statistics and input from medical experts: perhaps about 1 in 5,000 on a given day.

Of course, statistics are never that simple, and there are other risk factors — such as whether your environment is high-risk, and whether you take other precautions. Still, for those worried about unknowingly infecting a loved one through a breakthrough case, these numbers may be a bit of a relief.

Doctors and public health officials are also weighing in on the numbers.

Here’s Doctor Jeffrey Muchin, a public health officer in the state of Washington, weighing in on how cases hit the vaccinated versus unvaccinated, with significantly higher rates not only of hospitalization, but infection, for the unvaxxed.

Dr. Ashish K. Jha, Dean of the Brown University School of Public Health, also offered an opinion, sharing the NYT article and suggesting that he thinks the risk is in fact even lower.

Of course, the ultimate risk with COVID-19 is that it continues to mutate, and even the best estimates fall apart as the virus changes — but for now, those who have been vaccinated and are taking other precautions can breathe at least a little easier regarding the risk of breakthrough infections.



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