Hesham A. Hassaballa on Medika Life

Breakthrough Infections Dramatically Enhance COVID Immunity

I don't want anyone to get Covid after being vaccinated. And, if this were to happen, the immune response get an enormous boost.

I don’t want anyone to get Covid after being fully vaccinated, a so-called “breakthrough infection.” I wish they would never happen. The reality is, however, breakthrough infections do happen. And, it seems, they are happening more often this Fall.

This is not totally surprising. While it would be ideal for a vaccine to prevent infection – i.e., catching the virus at all – at the very least, a good vaccine will prevent you from getting very sick from the disease. On this latter front, the vaccines continue to hold up well.

Yet, if it were to happen – if someone were to get a breakthrough infection – research shows that this person ends up with very robust immunity.

Researchers from the Oregon Health & Science University studied 26 people who were fully vaccinated against SARS CoV-2 and subsequently got COVID and compared them with 26 people who were vaccinated but did not get COVID. They found the immunity after a breakthrough infection was substantial:

Data showing substantially enhanced immunity after breakthrough infection. Source: JAMA

In fact, the immunity after a breakthrough infection helped protect against multiple variants of SARS CoV-2, including Delta (the study was conducted before Omicron was born):

Immunity after a breakthrough infection was substantial against multiple variants, including Delta. Source: JAMA

This is also not surprising, as an infection after vaccination serves as a “booster shot,” of sorts, and it therefore greatly enhances one’s immunity.

Now, of course, this is not the best way to boost your immunity against COVID if you are vaccinated. Sometimes, even mild COVID infections can have lasting long-term effects.

The best way, in fact, to boost your immunity against COVID is to get a booster shot. In the United States, everyone over the age of 16 is eligible to get a booster shot 2 months after the J&J vaccine and 6 months after the mRNA vaccines. They are safe. They are effective. And they boost your immunity to a great degree.

Again, I do not wish a breakthrough infection on anyone. This disease is horrible, and I have seen its horror up close. If one does get a breakthrough, though, the silver lining is that the immunity after such infection is very, very robust.

Reference: Bates TA, McBride SK, Winders B, et al. Antibody Response and Variant Cross-Neutralization After SARS-CoV-2 Breakthrough Infection. JAMA. Published online December 16, 2021. doi:10.1001/jama.2021.22898

PATIENT ADVISORY

Medika Life has provided this material for your information. It is not intended to substitute for the medical expertise and advice of your health care provider(s). We encourage you to discuss any decisions about treatment or care with your health care provider. The mention of any product, service, or therapy is not an endorsement by Medika Life

Dr. Hesham A. Hassaballahttp://drhassaballa.com
Dr. Hesham A. Hassaballa is a NY Times featured Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine specialist in clinical practice for over 20 years. He is Board Certified in Internal Medicine, Pulmonary Medicine, Critical Care Medicine, and Sleep Medicine. He is a prolific writer, with dozens of peer-reviewed scientific articles and medical blog posts. He is a Physician Leader and published author. His latest book is "Code Blue," a medical thriller.

DR HESHAM A HASSABLLA

Medika Editor: Cardio and Pulmonary

Dr. Hesham A. Hassaballa is a NY Times featured Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine specialist in clinical practice for over 20 years. He is Board Certified in Internal Medicine, Pulmonary Medicine, Critical Care Medicine, and Sleep Medicine.

He is a prolific writer, with dozens of peer-reviewed scientific articles and medical blog posts. He is a Physician Leader and published author. His latest book is "Code Blue," a medical thriller.

Medika are also thrilled to announce Hesham has recently joined our team as an Editor for BeingWell, Medika's publication on Medium

CONNECT WITH HESHAM

Website

Twitter

LinkedIn

All articles, information and publications featured by the author on thees pages remain the property of the author. Creative Commons does not apply and should you wish to syndicate, copy or reproduce, in part or in full, any of the content from this author, please contact Medika directly.