Vaccinated and Exposed to COVID: Am I at Risk?
Now that approximately 50 percent of people in Illinois are vaccinated, we are getting a lot of questions about virus risk and COVID-19 testing. Is it necessary for this group? Can they still catch COVID? Dr. Khare weighs in on some common questions below.
Q: I’m fully vaccinated, can I still catch COVID?
A: Yes, however the chance of you contracting COVID after you have been fully vaccinated remains low. If you do however catch the virus, your symptoms will be considerably less severe than if you had not been vaccinated. This is why it is very important for people to get vaccinated. While it may not offer 100 percent protection against the virus, it does offer up to a 95 percent protection against severe illness related to COVID. Thus far at Innovative Express Care, we’ve seen seven individuals who were fully vaccinated test positive for COVID-19. This may be due to different variants of the virus that are circulating.
Q: If I’m fully vaccinated, but was exposed to COVID, do I need to get tested?
A: According to the CDC, you do not need to be tested for COVID unless you experience symptoms. That said, if you are repeatedly in contact with a COVID positive person (i.e. a parent with a positive child or a caregiver to someone who tests positive), it doesn’t hurt to be tested. We often recommend this for caregivers, just to be sure they are not unknowingly carrying the virus and therefore potentially spreading it to other individuals. If you experience COVID symptoms, whether you had a known exposure to the virus or not, we do recommend testing. Testing is the only way to know for sure if you are carrying the virus. It is uncommon for vaccinated individuals to contract COVID, but it is possible. Testing could prevent someone else from getting sick, and possibly even save a life.
Q: Can a vaccinated person spread COVID to an unvaccinated person?
A: Yes, although this only happens if the vaccinated person contracts COVID themselves. That said, the risk remains low. Since it is however possible for a fully vaccinated person to contract COVID, there is the potential for someone who is vaccinated to spread the virus within their community. The best thing to do is to get tested if you have virus symptoms. This will allow you to find out if it’s COVID, or perhaps something else, before you spread it to others.
Q: Is it hard to make a testing appointment?
A: Not at all. We are open 7 days a week and accept walk-ins for COVID testing. You may also schedule online here. Testing is quick and easy. After checking in, you’ll simply walk up or drive thru our testing center. Patients are typically in and out within 15 minutes.