The 4-1-1 on Vaccine Breakthrough
What is it vaccine Breakthrough?
- A vaccine breakthrough is when a person has COVID-19 (infection) found in a specimen collected ≥14 days after they have completed all recommended doses of a U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-authorized COVID-19 vaccine. (2 weeks and the second dose of Pfizer and Moderna or the one and only dose of J&J.)
Are vaccine breakthrough cases normal?
- The CDC says yes! Vaccine breakthrough cases are expected. COVID-19 vaccines are effective and are a critical tool to bring the pandemic under control. However, no vaccine is 100% effective at preventing illness in vaccinated people. There will be a percentage of fully vaccinated people who still get sick, are hospitalized, or die from COVID-19. (This is where masking, social distancing remain important and staying home if ill is so important.)
- Ontario County Public Health is closely monitoring the number of breakthrough cases, hospitalizations and deaths
What is the CDC doing about vaccine breakthrough?
- State health departments report vaccine breakthrough cases to CDC. We collect vaccine information & hospital information during case investigation and enter the information into the state database. NYSDOH then pulls data to report to the CDC.
- CDC monitors hospitalized or fatal vaccine breakthrough cases for clustering by patient demographics, geographic location, time since vaccination, vaccine type, and variance. (This surveillance is how the CDC knows when variants pop-up and how they can tell if they are easily spread or if they are more/less dangerous than the previous variants.)
If breakthrough cases are expected, why are we still vaccinating?
- The goals of vaccine in controlling disease spread is two-fold:
- Prevent an individual from contracting the disease.
- If a vaccinated individual does contract the disease the immune response will help lesson symptoms and prevent hospitalizations and or death
- COVID-19 vaccines are effective. CDC recommends that everyone 12 years of age and older get a COVID-19 vaccine as soon as they can.
Different COVID-19 Vaccines
NYSDOH Health Advisory on COVID-19 vaccine clinical considerations for people with a history of myocarditis or pericarditis.
After reviewing available evidence including risks of myocarditis, the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) determined that the benefits of using mRNA COVID-19 vaccines under the FDA’s Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) clearly outweigh the risks in all populations. The FDA has modified the EUA Fact Sheets for Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines to include information regarding myocarditis after receipt of mRNA COVID-19 vaccines. Please ensure that your county health department COVID-19 vaccine clinics use the current EUA Fact Sheets at:
- Pfizer COVID-19 Vaccine EUA Fact Sheet for Health Care Providers: https://www.fda.gov/media/144413/download
- Pfizer COVID-19 Vaccine EUA Fact Sheet for Vaccine Recipients: https://www.fda.gov/media/144414/download
- Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine EUA Fact Sheet for Health Care Providers: https://www.fda.gov/media/144637/download
- Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine EUA Fact Sheet for Vaccine Recipients: https://www.fda.gov/media/144638/download
COVID-19 Vaccine Scam Alert!
Please be alert to COVID-19 vaccine scams. Please don't give your private information over the phone. There is no cost for COVID-19 vaccine. Do NOT give your bank account information. Always ask for the caller's name and phone number. Staff from NYSDOH or Ontario County Public Health will provide our name and phone number for call-back if needed. (2/16/2021)
Looking for vaccine?
Beware of COVID vaccine fraud. It is a red flag if anyone is promising you the vaccine in exchange for payment. To make a report, call 1-833-VAX-SCAM (1-833-829-7226) or email STOPVAXFRAUD@health.ny.gov
Commonly Asked Question
Will a COVID-19 vaccine alter my DNA?
No. COVID-19 mRNA vaccines do not change or interact with your DNA in any way.
Messenger RNA vaccines—also called mRNA vaccines—are the first COVID-19 vaccines authorized for use in the United States. mRNA vaccines teach our cells how to make a protein that triggers an immune response. The mRNA from a COVID-19 vaccine never enters the nucleus of the cell, which is where our DNA is kept. This means the mRNA cannot affect or interact with our DNA in any way. Instead, COVID-19 mRNA vaccines work with the body’s natural defenses to safely develop immunity to disease. Learn more about how COVID-19 mRNA vaccines work.
Will a COVID-19 vaccination protect me from getting sick with COVID-19?
Yes. COVID-19 vaccination works by teaching your immune system how to recognize and fight the virus that causes COVID-19, and this protects you from getting sick with COVID-19. Being protected from getting sick is important because even though many people with COVID-19 have only a mild illness, others may get a severe illness, have long-term health effects, or even die. There is no way to know how COVID-19 will affect you, even if you don’t have an increased risk of developing severe complications. CDC: Learn How Vaccines Work
Can a COVID-19 vaccine make me sick with COVID-19?
No. None of the authorized and recommended COVID-19 vaccines or COVID-19 vaccines currently in development in the United States contain the live virus that causes COVID-19. This means that a COVID-19 vaccine cannot make you sick with COVID-19.
Can I receive COVID-19 vaccine and another vaccine in the same day?
Given the lack of data on the safety and efficacy of mRNA COVID-19 vaccines administered simultaneously with other vaccines, the vaccine series should routinely be administered alone, with a minimum interval of 14 days before or after administration with any other vaccine. However, mRNA COVID-19 and other vaccines may be administered within a shorter period in situations where the benefits of vaccination are deemed to outweigh the potential unknown risks of vaccine coadministration (e.g., tetanus toxoid-containing vaccination as part of wound management, measles or hepatitis A vaccination during an outbreak) or to avoid barriers or delays to mRNA COVID-19 vaccination (e.g., in long-term care facility residents or healthcare personnel who received influenza or other vaccinations prior to/upon admission or onboarding). If mRNA COVID-19 vaccines are administered within 14 days of another vaccine, doses do not need to be repeated for either vaccine.
Can I receive vaccine if I have been diagnosed with COVID-19?
Data from clinical trials tells us that mRNA COVID-19 vaccines can safely be given to people with evidence of a prior SARS-CoV-2 infection. Vaccination of people with known current SARS-CoV-2 infection should be delayed until the person has recovered from the acute illness (if the person had symptoms) and is no longer on isolation.
Is the COVID-19 Vaccine safe?
Yes. The U.S. vaccine safety system ensures that all vaccines are as safe as possible. Safety is a top priority while federal partners work to make this and other COVID-19 vaccines available. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted Emergency Use Authorizations (EUA) for two COVID-19 vaccines which have been shown to be safe and effective as determined by data from the manufacturers and findings from large clinical trials. These data demonstrate that the known and potential benefits of this vaccine outweigh the known and potential harms of becoming infected with the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID 19). Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Who tracks vaccine reactions?
Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) is a national early warning system to detect possible safety problems in U.S.-licensed vaccines. VAERS is co-managed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). VAERS has been accepting and analyzing reports of adverse events (side effects) after a person has received a vaccination since 1990. https://vaers.hhs.gov/reportevent.html
Who can report a vaccine reaction?
Anyone can report an adverse event to VAERS. This includes patients and parents (for any vaccine). Healthcare professionals are required to report certain adverse events and vaccine manufacturers are required to report all adverse events that come to their attention. Online reporting form: https://vaers.hhs.gov/esub/index.jsp
VAERS is a passive reporting system, meaning it relies on individuals to send in reports of their experiences to CDC and FDA. VAERS is not designed to determine if a vaccine caused a health problem but is especially useful for detecting unusual or unexpected patterns of adverse event reporting that might indicate a possible safety problem with a vaccine. This way, VAERS can provide CDC and FDA with valuable information that additional work and evaluation is necessary to further assess a possible safety concern. Anyone can complete a VAERS report.
How many COVID-19 vaccines have been distributed in New York?
The COVID-19 NYSDOH Vaccine Tracker dashboard reports the number of 1st and 2nd dose vaccinations distributed and administered across the state of New York.
Vaccination program numbers are for doses distributed and delivered to New York for the state’s vaccination program, and do not include those reserved for the federal government’s Long Term Care Facility program.