In-Depth: Can you still get COVID-19 after you get the vaccine?

New UC San Diego study sheds light on question
COVID-19 vaccine trial participant describes side effects
Posted at 6:29 AM, Mar 26, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-18 21:42:04-04

LA JOLLA, Calif. (KGTV) - New numbers from UC San Diego show the COVID-19 Vaccines from Moderna and Pfizer are just as effective in real-world situations as they are in clinical trials.

Researchers at UC San Diego and UCLA looked at infection numbers among vaccinated healthcare workers from December December 16 through February 9 to see how well the vaccines protected them.

In that time, they gave out 36,659 first doses of the vaccine and 28,184 second doses.

At the same time, workers still got COVID-19 tests at least once per week.

That combination of high vaccination and testing levels lets them get a unique perspective on the vaccines' ability to prevent infection.

"After combining both of those, we were able to show in a short amount of time that the vaccines were working," says Dr. Shira Abeles from UC San Diego Health.

But, as expected, they weren't 100% effective at preventing infection.

The schools' research found that 379 employees still tested positive for COVID-19.

Of those, 71% got sick within the first two weeks of their first dose, when immunity is just starting to build.

After the second shot, only 30 people got COVID-19 within the first two weeks. After that, only seven people tested positive.

Doctors from both systems say it shows the vaccine works, even during a surge in cases in the community.

"It just confirms what was shown in the vaccine trials," says Dr. Abeles. "But it's showing it in a real-life scenario."

But, doctors warn that it also shows infection is still possible, even after vaccination.

It's especially possible in the first few weeks after getting the vaccine. They say people still need to keep their guard up and their masks on.

"COVID anywhere can be COVID everywhere," says Dr. Abeles. "So we still have to exercise caution while we as a global community take care of each other and get to a better place."