“If you get infected while being vaccinated, it is as if you gave yourself another dose, which would be much more powerful”, explains Alfredo Corell
Only the variants could pose a possible problem
Already I’m vaccinated, now what? It is the question that many people will be asking themselves, with their two doses set against the covid (or one, in the case of Janssen). Because there are still many unvaccinated people, especially children and adolescents, and the virus has not disappeared, it spreads much less but it continues to circulate. The vaccines being inoculated They are very effective in not getting seriously ill or dying, but they do not protect 100% from contagion.
What happens if I come in contact with the virus? Can I get infected? How will my body react? Can I get infected more than once, despite being vaccinated? And how does all this affect my immune response to the virus? In this article we try to answer these questions.
For it, we spoke with the immunologist and scientific communicator Alfredo Corell, which begins by clarifying one important thing. “If you get infected while being vaccinated, it is as if you got another dose of the vaccine, as if you were revaccinated. And that new dose it is much more powerful, what’s more”.
Can I get infected while being vaccinated?
Yes. The The effectiveness of vaccines against the transmission of the virus is not as high as against the disease. They do not completely prevent infection. The most effective way to prevent it is Pfizer, which in the most recent study on the matter has shown a very high efficiency to block the virus: 94%.
How will my body react?
“If you get infected, the virus enters through the respiratory route, and the vaccine, on the other hand, has entered through the intramuscular route. It is very different, and this influences the body’s response “Corell cautions. “The intramuscular vaccination produces a very strong immune reaction in the blood, generates antibodies and B and T cells, memory in the blood. But You do not have much power left in the immunity of the mucous membranes, that is, in the respiratory system. There is no powerful answer there. ”
That is what explain that you can get infected even while being vaccinated. “The virus enters through the nose and infects those cells, and it can reproduce there. That will activate the defenses and I probably don’t even know it, but I can be contagious for a few days ”.
Corell explains that This is what is behind the asymptomatic outbreaks that have occurred in nursing homes, already vaccinated. “They are vaccinated, but they get infected. They have no symptoms, but they are contagious. With the vaccine the contagion capacity is greatly reduced, but it is not zero ”, he warns.
And there is more. “When I get infected by the mucous membranes, a very good response will be induced in the entry routes of the virus (respiratory system), but there will be less response in the blood ”. That is, it happens the other way around than with the vaccine. And this is important for the response my body will have if there are more infections.
Can I get infected more than once?
“You can have contact with the virus, not once or twice but twenty times, but I do not think you will be infected more times, being vaccinated”Says Corell. And insist. “The vaccines are based on two doses, the starter and the booster. If you get infected later, that is already as if you received a third dose and it can leave you protected in a very powerful way against future infections ”.
“Each new contact with the virus would strengthen the level of antibodies and defenses, generating a much more powerful response. Each infection gives you a defense shot “explains the immunologist. That warns: “It is very difficult for a fourth infection to occur.”
However, it adds a nuance. “I don’t think you will get infected again, more than once, Unless it is a new variant against which you do not have antibodies or cells that protect you “. But this, at the moment, does not happen with the variants that we currently know, against which vaccines are proving effective.
How does it affect my body to be infected several times?
Let’s suppose I get infected for the second or third time, after being vaccinated. Corell explains that, in that case, “You already have defenses in the mucous membranes, as well as in the blood, because you have generated them in the previous infection”. That is, you are more protected than the previous time, that you only counted on the response in the blood generated by the vaccine.
But Can I also notice any reaction of the body to such an immune response? “If in any of these infections we activate the response of the cells in the blood, this type of defense can generate fatigue, fever, headache … the same thing that we are seeing when inoculating the vaccine ”, explains Corell. “But if I stop the virus at the mucosal level, that is not going to happen. Y the normal thing is that if there are infections, they stop at the mucosal level ”.
If I come into contact with the virus and I get infected over and over again while vaccinated (which is unlikely), the normal thing is that from the second infection, the virus already stops in the entrance mucosa. In other words, “the immune system stops it so quickly, that there are no repercussions. In fact, the person would not even become infected ”.