What are my chances of catching COVID-19 post-vaccination? What the latest data shows


Almost half the adult population in the UK have now been fully vaccinated with a coronavirus vaccine. The logistical coup is not the only cause for celebration. A new study has found both the Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines are highly effective after two doses against the variant identified in India. Despite the overwhelming positivity, a relatively small number of people vaccinated have still got infected.

This anomaly surfaced in the data collected by the ZOE COVID app, which has been tracking vaccination rates.

ZOE collected reports earlier in May from 31 contributors who had an infection after two doses of the vaccine, and 87 who had an infection after one dose.

Analysing the data in aggregate, the team behind the app calculated the risk of infection post-vaccination.

The risk calculation for infection was based on one or two doses of the vaccination, and no doses, recorded using the ZOE data.

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The data shows:

  • Current risk of COVID infection in unvaccinated: one in 46,855
  • Current risk of COVID infection after one vaccine dose: one in 97,616
  • Current risk of COVID infection after two vaccine doses: one in 167,341.

The ZOE COVID Study incidence figures (new symptomatic cases) were based on around one million weekly reporters and the proportion of newly symptomatic users who have received positive swab tests.

The survey figures were based on data from 4,449 recent swab tests done between 17 April to 01 May 2021. The data excludes the lateral flow tests.

A rapid lateral flow test is a coronavirus test you do yourself. It shows you the result on a handheld device that comes with the test.

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Tim Spector OBE, lead scientist on the ZOE COVID Study app and Professor of Genetic Epidemiology at King’s College London, commented on the findings: “With most adults now vaccinated in the UK, we’re seeing a milder form of COVID emerge with less than one third of people experiencing classic symptoms in the first week of the disease.”

He continued: “Even if people are vaccinated, they should be aware there are more than 20 symptoms of COVID, many of them mild and that they can get a test after logging these symptoms in the ZOE app.”

What are the main symptoms of COVID-19?

The main symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) are:

  1. A high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
  2. A new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or three or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)
  3. A loss or change to your sense of smell or taste – this means you’ve noticed you cannot smell or taste anything, or things smell or taste different to normal.

According to the NHS, Most people with symptoms have at least one of the above.

If you have any of the main symptoms of COVID-19, get a PCR test (test that is sent to a lab) to check if you have COVID-19 as soon as possible.

You and anyone you live with should stay at home and not have visitors until you get your test result – only leave your home to have a test.

Anyone in your childcare or support bubble should also stay at home if you have been in close contact with them since your symptoms started or during the 48 hours before they started.

A support bubble is where someone who lives alone (or just with their children) can meet people from one other household.

According to public health advice, if you get symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) again, you must self-isolate immediately and get a PCR test.

You should also self-isolate again if:

  • Someone you live with gets symptoms
  • Someone in your childcare or support bubble gets symptoms and you were in close contact with them since their symptoms started or during the 48 hours before they started.

You must also self-isolate again even if you’ve had a positive test result for COVID-19 before.

You probably have some immunity to the virus but it’s not clear how long it lasts.



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