What is Breakthrough Infection?

The public health experts recently announced that the increase in “breakthrough infections” in the country may be due to the mutant varieties.

What are Breakthrough infections?

  • The Breakthrough infections are those where the COVID-19 virus (or any other virus) is detected in a person who has received two (or prescribed number) doses of vaccines. The person gets infected with the COVID-19 virus after the second dose.
  • According to Indian Council of Medical Research, around two to three breakthrough infections occur per 10,000 infections.
  • In the US, 5,814 COVID-19 breakthrough infections were found out of 75 million vaccinated people.

Causes of Breakthrough infection

  • Age: As the age of the person increases, the immune system of the body undergoes a series of changes. The count of naïve B cells and naïve T cells decreases. These naïve cells are the ones that respond to the new pathogens that the immune system has not yet encountered.
  • Antibody interference: The maternal antibodies in the infants limits the efficacy of the infant immune system. In an infant, the immune system is not completely activated and it produces less antibodies.
  • Virus Evolution: The virus mutations blocks the immune responses generated by the vaccines.
  • Poor Quality vaccine: Maintaining vaccine temperatures are highly important. If the vaccine is kept after expiration date or is stored in incorrect temperature, the vaccine loses its potency.
  • Appropriate vaccine dosages are essential. The vaccine dosages are fixed based on age and weight. If patients receive lower dose than the recommended then there will be no adequate immune response.
  • Vaccines with weaker strains that is of poor quality will fail to ensure future immunity.

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