As a journalist who’s been covering the pandemic for more months than I care to count, I sometimes get bogged down in the minutiae of the science. I forget that not everyone has been poring through the intricate ins and outs of virology and epidemiology and vaccinology.

So I need to remind myself to listen when my colleagues at The Conversation who aren’t on the science desk ask the same simple question over and over. That was the genesis of Vanderbilt vaccine expert Sanjay Mishra’s article that publishes today. I turned to him because I knew he would be able to comb through the cutting-edge research and gather some solid numbers to answer the question: What is a breakthrough infection?

Also today:

Maggie Villiger

Senior Science + Technology Editor

Vaccines don’t ward off every single infection but they do massively lower the risk. Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

What is a breakthrough infection? 6 questions answered about catching COVID-19 after vaccination

Sanjay Mishra, Vanderbilt University

Vaccines can’t provide 100% protection, so it’s not a failure or surprise when some vaccinated people get sick with COVID-19. The good news is their cases are much less likely to be severe or fatal.


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