MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Minnesota health officials are looking for positive cases of COVID-19 after someone has been fully vaccinated.
These types of infections are called “vaccine breakthroughs”. The Minnesota Department of Health says it’s important to follow up positive cases 14 or more days after a second vaccine. This could help the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention better understand how long vaccines have immunity.
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Karla was relieved when her 79-year-old mother Sharon received her second dose of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine on February 10. Thirteen days later, she tested positive for the virus after becoming unwell.
“I was really worried about her,” Karla said. “She had a sore throat and was coughing, and I was like, ‘Mom, you have to go get tested for COVID.'”
In a few days, she felt good. New data suggests that people are well protected after their first dose of Pfizer vaccine, and about 95% effective after the second dose, according to Kris Ehresmann of MDH.
“The vaccine is 95% effective, which means that in theory, out of 100 people vaccinated, there may be five who do not have the same level of response to provide protection,” Ehresmann said.
MDH sent a notice to healthcare providers this week, asking them to look for people who test positive for COVID 14 days after the end of the second dose, whether symptomatic or asymptomatic.
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While Sharon’s case is not considered a vaccine breakthrough since her test positive came before the deadline of two weeks after her second dose, health officials say it’s a reminder to continue taking precautions .
“You still have to mask, you still have to make sure that you socially distance yourself and take into account the mitigation measures that we’ve been talking about for a year,” Ehresmann said.
Karla says she is thankful her mother has only had mild symptoms.
“It’s possible that if she hadn’t had the vaccine it might have been a whole different story,” she said.
MDH says they have had 14 groundbreaking confirmed COVID cases in Minnesota. All were from healthcare workers and were only detected because they are regularly tested for work. In addition, all had mild symptoms or no symptoms at all.
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The CDC says that even getting a flu shot only reduces your risk by 40% to 60%.