The short answer is yes, it’s called a breakthrough infection. But it's not quite as black and white as that, otherwise why would we get vaccinated?
It’s more a game of chances than absolutes. You have much less chance of catching COVID-19 if you are fully vaccinated and have had your booster, and you are much less likely to get seriously unwell. If you do get it, the chance of you passing it on to others is much lower, making you less contagious.
If it’s more than 14 days since your second vaccination and you get infected COVID-19, this is termed a breakthrough infection.
If it’s within the 14 days since your vaccination, it’s likely you contracted the virus either before or around your vaccination.
No vaccine claims to offer 100% protection against a virus or bacteria, but you reduce the chances of a breakthrough infection, thus protecting yourself, your loved ones and those in your community.
As vaccines are not 100% effective, it is important to continue to uphold safe practices, such as avoiding unnecessary contact and keeping a safe distance when interacting with others, wearing a mask in public and busy spaces, and ensuring good hand hygiene.
Those who have a weakened immune system and older people are more likely to experience breakthrough infections, which is why it is especially important that they stay fully vaccinated, and we all take precautions to protect those around us.
Scientists currently understand that the best protection from COVID-19, especially the current Omicron variant, is if you have two vaccinations and a booster. It’s up to two weeks after each to benefit, and you’re considered at optimal protection two weeks or more after the booster.
A vaccination will prime your immune system to a particular infection, so it’s better equipped to fight it when you meet the virus. This may mean that you do not experience any symptoms at all, but if you do, being vaccinated means symptoms are more likely to be mild or to last for a shorter period of time.
*Information correct on 17 January 2022
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