Vaccinated people can still get infected: Prof

Fully-vaccinated people can still get COVID-19, which is referred to as a “breakthrough infection”.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defines breakthrough infection as "an infection of a fully vaccinated person".

Member of the Medical and Scientific Advisory Committee, Professor John Vince, clarified that the COVID-19 vaccine protects you against severe infection and death.

Professor Vince accompanied Pandemic Controller, David Manning, and deputy pandemic controller, Dr Daoni Esorom, to Lae on Tuesday where they met with employers and private sector representatives at the Lae Golf Club.

During the gathering, Professor Vince, who is also the deputy dean of the UPNG School of Medicine, told attendees that while COVID-19 vaccines are not a hundred percent effective at preventing infection, they reduce the severity of the symptoms.

“If you’ve had your two doses of AZ (AstraZeneca) vaccine, I might get COVID tomorrow but I’m very confident I won’t die from COVID because all the evidence from all around the world says that if you’ve had your vaccines, you probably won’t get COVID but if you do, you’re much, much less likely to die from it,” he said.

“And most of the people dying in hospitals around the world now with COVID are people who are not vaccinated. There are very, very few vaccinated people who reach intensive care units.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said there is a risk of transmission for those who are vaccinated and still get infected. This is why masks should be worn by both vaccinated and unvaccinated people when in public places.

There are currently three vaccines in PNG: the AstraZeneca vaccine developed by the University of Oxford, the Sinopharm vaccine from the Beijing Institute of Biological Products and the Johnson & Johnson vaccine from the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies that is headquartered in Belgium.

Prof Vince said all these vaccines have been given free-of-charge to PNG through the COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access (COVAX) Facility.

COVAX is co-led by the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, GAVI and the World Health Organisation.

Carmella Gware