Although people who are fully vaccinated against the COVID-19 vaccine can still be infected with the Delta variant virus, WHO officials say that the vaccine protects most people from severe hospitalization or death.
WHO Chief Scientist Soumya Swaminathan said at a news conference on Monday: “There are reports that people vaccinated have been infected, especially the Delta variant virus. Most of them are mild or asymptomatic.”
She said that the number of hospitalizations in some parts of the world is increasing, mainly in places where the vaccination rate is low and the Delta variant virus is rampant.
In the United States, officials said that almost all recent hospitalizations and deaths of COVID-19 have occurred in people who have not been vaccinated. According to data from the CDC in the United States, breakthrough infections are rare. Among those who died or were hospitalized after vaccination, about 75% were people over 65 years of age.
Swaminathan warned that people who have been vaccinated may still be infected with COVID-19 and infect others. This is also why WHO officials urge everyone to wear masks and maintain social distancing, but vaccination “definitely reduces severe hospitalizations and death probability”.
Some studies have shown that people who infected COVID-19 after vaccination produce much less virus than people who have not been vaccinated, thereby reducing the risk of transmitting the virus to other people. WHO officials say more research is needed to understand the impact of vaccines on infectiousness