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Can I Still Get COVID If I've Been Vaccinated?

As vaccination campaigns around the world work to fight back against the COVID-19 pandemic, the situation remains complex. As different strains like the Delta variant develop, many people have concerns about vaccine efficacy, safety, and the continued spread of COVID-19. 

It’s a common question: Once you’re fully vaccinated, can you still become infected by COVID-19 or pass on a COVID-19 infection to others?

You can trust our team of infectious disease experts at GatherWell Rapid COVID Testing of Ham Lake, Edina, and Otsego, Minnesota to stay up-to-date on the latest COVID-19 information. In addition to our fast and reliable COVID-19 testing services, including antigen, molecular, PCR, and antibody testing, we are committed to keeping our patients informed. Here’s what is known about the safety and efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines.

Safe and effective vaccines

COVID-19 vaccines approved in the United States by the FDA for emergency use, including the mRNA vaccines by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna, are safe to use and effective at preventing COVID-19 infection. COVID-19 vaccines are effective at preventing severe illness and death.

COVID-19 vaccination also reduces your ability to spread the virus that causes COVID-19, protecting others in your community in addition to yourself. Vaccines are effective against most current variants, including the more contagious Delta variant that’s starting to spread in many US communities.

Breakthrough cases

However, even once fully vaccinated, a small percentage of people will still develop COVID-19 infection and illness. These are called breakthrough cases. 

People who take medications that weaken the immune system may not be as protected by vaccination and should continue to take precautions against COVID-19 infection. It’s also possible that you could have been infected just prior to vaccination and still become ill.

You can further lessen your risk of contracting or transmitting COVID-19 after full vaccination by avoiding crowded spaces, especially indoors, and continuing to wear a mask and observe social distance.

You should comply with all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial laws, rules, and regulations with regard to COVID-19-related public health measures, including mask mandates, both before and after getting vaccinated.

What to do if you have COVID symptoms

Since vaccine breakthrough cases are possible, though much less likely, you should continue to be aware of COVID-19 infection levels in your community and monitor yourself for telltale symptoms.

If you’re already fully vaccinated, your symptoms may be lessened in severity. Some evidence shows that vaccination can also lessen the severity of your illness, although hospitalization and death are both still possible. Vaccination significantly lowers your risk of hospitalization and death from COVID-19.

Still, you should get tested if you notice symptoms of COVID-19, especially if you’ve recently been exposed to someone who’s infected. With the assistance of our team at GatherWell Rapid COVID Testing, you can get the information you need to figure out your next steps.

If you do test positive for COVID-19 after vaccination, stay home and don’t socialize with others, particularly people who aren’t yet fully vaccinated.

For same-day testing services, including on-site group testing, at locations in Ham Lake, Otsego, and Edina, Minnesota, contact GatherWell over the phone or online now.