Some fully vaccinated parents are experiencing breakthrough COVID infections in the U.S. as their children return to school, while a highly infectious Delta variant is causing a surge in cases.
Data from the Children's Hospital Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics showed that over 121,000 U.S. kids got a positive test result for COVID-19 between August 5 to August 12, when some schools started in-person classes. It has prompted the agencies to warn families that they could be exposed to the virus whether they are unvaccinated or not.
The experts said that all COVID-19 vaccines are not 100 percent effective against virus transmissions, but it is highly effective in preventing hospitalization, severe symptoms and even death for the vaccinated. In the small chances that vaccinated parents have caught the virus from their kids, the usual protocols should still be observed, according to CNN medical analyst Dr. Leana Wen.
Isolation and Limit Close Household Contact
Every household member with a breakthrough infection must get tested for COVID-19 within three to five days of learning about the infection.
According to Wen, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has advised that patients of breakthrough COVID cases need to isolate and limit their close contact with other members of the household. If they have symptoms, they should remain isolated for seven to 10 days or until their symptoms have improved and they no longer have fever for more than 24 hours.
The doctor said that isolation is still a crucial process because even vaccinated individuals can be contagious to others. Isolation means that vaccinated individuals with breakthrough COVID infection shouldn't go out in public nor go to work.
Some vaccinated parents who have been exposed to the virus but are asymptomatic might still go to work and opt to wear a face mask. However, Wen said it would be better to stay at home while waiting for their test results.
"Would you be comfortable sitting shoulder to shoulder with a work colleague around a conference table if you knew that this person's spouse was just diagnosed with Covid-19," she reasoned.
Wen reminded families to remain cautious even if they've had a vaccination as an extra layer of protection. She said that the level of virus infection is "so high that the vaccine alone may not be enough to protect you."
Breakthrough Cases Remain Low
The CDC's monitoring of patients hospitalized with breakthrough COVID infections, or have been fatal, has been significantly low. Overall, of the 9,716 patients with breakthrough COVID infections as of mid-August 2021, 88 percent of deaths involved people over 65 years old but 20 percent of these cases were not even COVID-related sicknesses.
Dr. Barbara Ferrer of the Los Angeles Public Health, one of the states with high Delta variant cases, acknowledged an uptick in infection among the fully vaccinated. She said that more people would come into contact with the virus because of Delta, but she observed that despite the high rates of transmission, most vaccinated people "don't end up hospitalized or tragically lose their life."
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