Amesh Adalja communicates with clarity the relationship between COVID-19, vaccines, and vaccinated individuals who test positive for COVID-19 (“breakthrough infections”):
“One of the biggest misunderstandings that persists is regarding rare breakthrough infections that occur and their importance. These rare events were always expected but perhaps poorly communicated, as no vaccine is 100 percent efficacious. Vaccines are not bug-zappers or “forcefields.”
“What a vaccine does accomplish is remarkable: A vaccine primes the immune system to spring into action upon exposure to the virus and derail an infection before it has the chance to be as productive, to cause as many symptoms or to cause as much damage as it would have in the absence of this immunity. (Natural immunity also operates this way and is important.)
“The early steps of the thwarted infection are what alert the immune system to the intruder, and the aftereffects of the incident are a boost to immunity.
[…] “The goal is not to achieve some fantastical “COVID zero” status but to deny the virus the ability to cause serious disease, with hospitalization and death on a scale that could threaten hospital capacity. In states where vaccination rates are high, the vaccines we have in the U.S. are performing tremendously. Vaccines are taming the virus by relegating to the status of other respiratory viruses we deal with year in and year out. This was largely achieved by vaccinating those at highest risk for hospitalization.
[…] “Attesting to the power of the available vaccines, virtually everyone hospitalized with COVID-19 currently is unvaccinated. This is true even in states with low vaccination numbers.
[…] “The virus treats a vaccinated person very differently than an unvaccinated or non-immune person and, therefore, others should treat them differently because they are not the same COVID-19 threat.”
Read the rest of “COVID-19 news is confusing — but vaccination is still the answer” at The Hill.