What Are Omicron Breakthrough Infections, and Why Do They Happen?

March 1, 2022

What Are Omicron Breakthrough Infections, and Why Do They Happen?

You’ve likely heard of omicron “breakthrough” infections and how they have become more common over the past couple of months. What does this mean, though? Does this mean that COVID-19 vaccines don’t offer effective protection against COVID-19 and its variants?

Our AFC Urgent Care Farragut team answer these questions and more below, so keep reading!

What Are Breakthrough Infections?

According to the CDC, a breakthrough infection is when a person tests positive for COVID-19 at least two weeks after becoming fully vaccinated, including receiving a booster shot when eligible.

Breakthrough infections should be expected, according to the CDC, due to the fact that no vaccine is 100% effective in preventing viral infection. The COVID-19 vaccine and booster shots have shown have been shown to be effective in preventing serious illness and hospitalization, though, which is the main purpose of vaccines in the first place. Plus, evidence has suggested that omicron breakthrough cases aren’t as severe among the vaccinated. So, even if you’ve been fully vaccinated, if you test positive for the virus, don’t panic.

Most Common Omicron Symptoms

  • Cough
  • Fatigue or tiredness
  • Congestion and runny nose
  • Sore throat
  • Headache

What Can I Do to Avoid Omicron?

Although breakthrough infections do happen, the COVID-19 vaccine and booster shots remain the strongest defenses against this highly contagious variant. In fact, booster injections have been shown to be 90% effective at avoiding hospitalizations due to omicron in recent trials conducted by the CDC.

Other health precautions, in addition to getting vaccinated and boosted, can help prevent you from omicron infection. We’ve listed them below.

Ways to Prevent Omicron Infection

  • Wear a well-fitting N95 or KN95 mask. These offer the highest level of protection, according to the CDC.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water thoroughly and often. Make sure to wash for at least 20 seconds each time to properly rid of lingering bacterial and viral particles.
  • Be smart with where you go and the events you attend. Even though physical distancing is still recommended by the CDC, not many adhere to it anymore. If you are immunocompromised, live with someone who is at high risk of becoming seriously ill or you have young children at home, you may want to be more cautious and keep your distance in public.

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