COVID-19 breakthrough cases: Is one vaccine better than the others?

Tracking The Vaccine

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – COVID-19 vaccine breakthrough cases are rising, and now people want to know which vaccine offers the best protection from the coronavirus.

A vaccine breakthrough case is when a fully vaccinated person gets infected with the coronavirus.

So what are the chances of you getting the virus with Pfizer, or Moderna, or Johnson and Johnson?

“You are a little more likely to get a breakthrough infection with Johnson & Johnson but we’re talking little margins compared to if you’re completely unvaccinated,” USF Associate Professor of Medicine Dr. Michael Teng said.

The AP reports Pfizer and Moderna were around 95% effective at preventing illness, while the Johnson and Johnson shot was 72% effective, though direct comparisons are difficult. 

Dr. Jason Salemi at USF’s College of Public Health stresses that the vaccine wasn’t designed to prevent you from getting infected, but to prevent you from getting extremely sick.

“Based on the evidence that I’ve seen there are no meaningful differences in the degree to which any of the vaccines offered in the U.S., the difference in efficacy is not dramatic where you should worry about waiting for one vaccine versus another,” Dr. Salemi said. “If you’re hearing about a lot of people around you who are fully vaccinated and tested positive, that’s okay. That is not any evidence that the vaccines don’t work.”

The CDC says vaccines prevent more than 90% of severe diseases but may be less effective at preventing infection or transmission.

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