Vaccines, including the COVID-19 vaccines, cannot provide 100% or permanent immunity. But COVID-19 vaccines are extremely effective in preventing serious illness, hospitalization, and death. Given that COVID-19 is an evolving virus, researchers continue to monitor how long vaccines provide immunity, which groups may benefit from additional doses, and how well the vaccines protect against new variants of the virus.

“Breakthrough” COVID-19 infections refer to infections in people who have fully completed the recommended vaccination schedule. This type of infection is not uncommon and can occur for multiple reasons. When vaccinated, breakthrough infections typically lead to mild symptoms that do not require hospitalization. People who are not vaccinated continue to account for the vast majority of severe cases, hospitalizations, and deaths from COVID-19. 

If you have questions about your risk of COVID-19, how to protect yourself, or the vaccines, consult with your healthcare provider.

Updated December 14, 2023