You asked, we answered: Why should I get vaccinated if I can still get and spread COVID-19?

Published January 7, 2022

Published

picture of a Nebraska Medicine ICU room

Question:

Why should someone get the COVID vaxx when people who are already vaxxed and boosted are still getting and spreading COVID?

Answer from infectious diseases expert James Lawler, MD:

We know that vaccine breakthrough infections occur, even in people who have received a booster shot. That doesn't mean the vaccines don't work. 

Data clearly show that an up-to-date vaccination status for COVID-19 reduces infection and significantly protects you from severe disease and hospitalization, even with omicron. 

A study from the United Kingdom showed that for omicron: 

  • Two doses of vaccine plus a third booster dose provided close to 90% protection against hospitalization compared to being unvaccinated
  • Booster dose protection against infection was more modest – 50% after 10 weeks – but this still means you are half as likely to be infected after three vaccine doses compared to unvaccinated

Across a population, a 50% reduction in infection risk can make a huge impact in transmission rates. 

Bottom line: If you are up to date on your COVID-19 vaccine, you give yourself significant protection against more severe disease and you help your community keep transmission rates low. 

Please get vaccinated and boosted.

And re-commit taking these steps that are proven to slow transmission: 

  • When indoors outside of your home, wear a well-fitting mask over your mouth and nose, N95 or KN95 if possible
  • Don't plan or attend large gatherings
  • Avoid crowded, indoor environments
  • Wash your hands frequently
  • Disinfect high-touch surfaces
  • Take steps to support your immune system
  • Get tested (preferably with a PCR test) if you have symptoms of illness, and isolate yourself until your negative result returns
  • If a family member or close contact is ill, quarantine yourself and get tested