Why Are Breakthrough Infections More Common with Omicron Than With Previous Strains?

A few months ago, “breakthrough” COVID-19 infections were extremely rare. The CDC predicted that breakthrough infections would be infrequent during the original strain of COVID-19, and even during the delta variant. However, this is not the case with omicron.

Continue reading to learn why breakthrough infections are more frequent with the omicron variant from our AFC Urgent Care Sevierville team.

What Are Breakthrough Infections?

According to the CDC, breakthrough infections happen when a person tests positive for COVID-19 at least two weeks after being fully vaccinated, including getting a booster dose when eligible.

Breakthrough infections are more common with the omicron variant than with earlier versions of the virus because omicron is substantially more transmissible due to its distinct mutations. These mutations allow the variant to circumvent the passive immunity established by early COVID-19 immunizations. The first signs of omicron are likewise unique, and we’ve mentioned them below.

Common Initial Omicron Symptoms

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

Do Booster Shots Provide Adequate Protection?

Yes, they do! While it is unfortunately true that breakthrough infections are common with the omicron variant, CDC studies have shown that booster shots are 90% successful in avoiding omicron hospitalizations.

While the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines and boosters in preventing initial infection has decreased, avoiding hospitalization and serious illness are the two most important jobs of vaccines and booster shots. The following are some extra steps you can take to lower your risks of catching the omicron variant.

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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