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Why are vaccinated people still getting COVID?

Vaccines provide protection but are not perfect — something we have always known.

HOUSTON — It seems every day we are hearing about more and more cases of people vaccinated against COVID-19 coming down with the virus. So what’s going on? Let’s connect the dots.

Second shot needed 2-week immunity

There are a couple reason why you could still get coronavirus after getting vaccinated. First up, if you got the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine you are not fully vaccinated until after the second shot.

But even then you are not fully protected. It takes about two weeks after that second shot to build up full immunity. So, in some of these breakthrough cases people could have been infected shortly before the second shot or their full immunity went into effect.

Not 100% effective against variants

Once you are fully vaccinated, you can still be infected. We’ve always known this. While the vaccines developed against COVID are incredibly effective, they are not 100%. The CDC says the Pfizer and Moderna shots are about 95 percent effective, while the Johnson and Johnson shot is 66 percent. All three have been shown to work against the Delta variant, but at least one study out of Israel showed the effectiveness of the Pfizer vaccine dropped to 64 percent when it went up against this much more contagious variant.

Good news if you are vaccinated: less risk of hospital time

The good news is there is evidence that people who are fully vaccinated do not get as sick as the unvaccinated. While again you are not 100 percent protected against hospitalization and death, you are much less likely to get really sick.