CDC study: COVID vaccines highly effective after 1 dose, but rare “breakthrough” cases can occur

ORLANDO, Fla. — A Centers for Disease Control study found there’s a roughly 20 percent chance of COVID-19 infection between vaccine doses.

They followed nearly 4,000 frontline workers across six states- including Florida- after one dose of an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine and found, while rare, it’s still possible to get infected.

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Nine days had passed since Susan and Edward Beans got their first Pfizer shots when they both tested positive for COVID-19.

“At first I was thinking it was from the shot?” Susan wondered.

Internal Medicine Specialist Dr. Aftab Khan treated both the Beans. He says the virus’ two to 14 day incubation period makes it difficult to know exactly when an exposure occurs.

So-called “breakthrough” cases that pop up after a dose of a vaccine aren’t tracked by the state, and since vaccines build antibodies right away, having one helps.

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“You can become infected, but you will not die,” Dr. Khan says.

36-year-old mother Bunny Puntel says she’d just received a Johnson and Johnson COVID vaccine when she felt what she thought was a simple cold.

“But they tested me anyway, and when they told me I was positive, I was very shocked.”

It’s a reminder that, while the Johnson and Johnson vaccine is a single dose, it takes 14 days to reach its full virus defense.

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“Nothing in life is 100 percent certain,” Dr. Khan says.

Physicians say anyone feeling a fever or generally ill should delay receiving any of the vaccines so that they can differentiate between an infection caused by the virus and a side effect from the shot.