Which Age Group Faces The Risk Of Severe COVID-19 Breakthrough Cases?

Those who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 are less likely to become infected with the illness. Nevertheless, vaccines are not 100% effective. This means that some people who are vaccinated may still get sick, resulting in what is called a breakthrough case (via Johns Hopkins Medicine). Vaccinated people are also able to pass the virus to other vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals. However, people who are vaccinated against COVID-19 have a better chance of surviving infection and are less likely to be hospitalized, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine.

The likelihood of a breakthrough case is low. Based on data from over 1 million adults, 0.2% reported having a breakthrough infection, according to The New York Times. "Those who did get breakthrough infections were roughly twice as likely to be asymptomatic as were those who were infected and unvaccinated. The odds of being hospitalized were 73 percent lower in the breakthrough group than the infected, unvaccinated group."

You may be more vulnerable to experience a breakthrough case if you have a weakened immune system or if a health care worker stored or administered the vaccine improperly. In addition, certain variants of the illness might make the vaccine less effective (via WebMD).

Which age group is most at risk?

According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, breakthrough cases are occurring more in the elderly. As of August 30, the data shows that 87% of breakthrough cases that resulted in death were in people over the age of 65. Additionally, 70% of those hospitalized with breakthrough cases were also 65 and older. From January 1 to June 30, the average age of those cases was 73 with about 70% of those reporting underlying medical conditions, according to information gathered from Yale Medical Library.

Regardless of your age, if you experience a breakthrough case, you can still spread COVID-19 and you may need to be hospitalized if your symptoms become severe. More research is needed, but in the meantime, WebMD recommends getting vaccinated as well as wearing a mask and practicing social distancing (even if you are vaccinated) to prevent spreading the illness.