Story at a glance
- During a press briefing, Anthony Fauci explained infections are possible after vaccination.
- They are known as vaccine failures.
- He highlighted that getting vaccinated is still critical to beating a severe illness.
With the abrupt halt in Johnson & Johnson vaccine distribution rattling public perception of vaccine safety, White House officials discussed vaccine outcomes.
Coronavirus advisor and National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease Chief Anthony Fauci specifically discussed COVID-19 reinfection following a COVID-19 vaccine.
Known as breakthrough infections, Fauci describes this as a vaccine failure, which is when a person contracts an infection despite having received a vaccine.
This is common among any vaccine.
“In the real world, no vaccine is 100 percent efficacious or effective, which means that you will always see breakthrough infections regardless of the efficacy of your vaccine,” he said during a press briefing.
With vaccine failure, there is both primary and secondary failure. Primary failure occurs when the body doesn’t produce enough of an immune response to protect the body from infection. This can come from immune system problems, age, health status or medications.
Secondary failure occurs when immunity gradually fades over time. Fauci noted that a vaccine might fail if the person is exposed to a new strain of the virus, such as the various COVID-19 mutations circulating globally.
He added that even if secondary failure occurs, and a person is infected, the vaccine doses can prevent severe illness and that getting vaccinated is critical for overcoming the pandemic.
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