You may be hearing more about breakthrough infections among those vaccinated against COVID-19 and have questions. Do breakthrough infections mean I’m not protected? Am I at risk? Fortunately, Alex Benjamin, MD, Chief Infection Control and Prevention Officer with Lehigh Valley Health Network (LVHN), has answers to some of the most common questions about breakthrough COVID cases.
Q. How common are breakthrough cases?
A. Locally we do not track every person who has a positive COVID test to see if he or she has been fully vaccinated. We do look at hospitalizations for COVID, and we know that 10%-15% of our hospitalized COVID patients have been vaccinated. While that sounds like a lot, there are many more in the hospital who have not been vaccinated. The bottom line is that vaccines are keeping people out of the hospital and saving lives.
Q. Should people be concerned about breakthrough infections?
A. Certainly. The number of new positive cases has been steadily rising in our area since early July. Even if you are vaccinated, you are likely to encounter a COVID-positive person in your daily activities and it is possible to become infected. If you have tested positive for COVID, it’s important to stay home and isolate. If you have been exposed, you should be tested.