Why Healthcare Workers Get Infected After Vaccination?

Healthcare workers in Malaysia are getting infected with COVID-19, even after vaccination.

Find out what’s going on, and what these post-vaccination infections really mean!


Healthcare Workers Are Getting Infected After Vaccination

On 17 April 2021, the Malaysia Director-General of Health, Dr. Noor Hisham Abdullah, announced that 182 healthcare workers have tested positive for COVID-19 after vaccination :

  • 142 after receiving their first dose
  • 40 after receiving their second dose
    – 9 cases : more than 2 weeks after second dose
    – 31 cases : less than 2 weeks after second dose

He noted that all of them had less severe symptoms, and reminded everyone to continue with 3C + 3W precautionary measures, even after vaccination :

  • Avoid the 3Cs – Crowded places, Close-contact settings, Confined and enclosed spaces
  • Practice the 3Ws – Wash hands frequently, Wear a face mask, Watch your distance


Why Healthcare Workers Get Infected After Vaccination?

After Dr. Hisham wrote about healthcare workers getting infected after vaccination, many people shared his post as evidence that the COVID-19 vaccines don’t work.

Nothing could be further from the truth. And here are the facts…

Fact #1 : Vaccines Are Not 100% Efficacious

COVID-19 vaccines are like training programmes for your immune system, giving it an opportunity to learn how to defeat the real SARS-CoV-2 virus.

They greatly protect you from severe disease and death, but that does not mean they will 100% protect you from getting infected.

The Pfizer COMIRNATY vaccine is 95% efficacious. That means approximately 0.05% of those who are fully vaccinated will still get COVID-19.

The Sinovac CoronaVac vaccine is 50.65% efficacious. That means approximately 0.49% of those who are fully vaccinated will still get COVID-19.

The numbers are not a typo. Read our explainer to learn more about what vaccine efficacy really means!

COVID-19 Vaccine Efficacy Breakthrough Rate
Pfizer Comirnaty 95.0% 0.05%
Sinovac CoronaVac 50.65% 0.4935%

Fact #2 : It Is Proof The Vaccines Are Working!

As of 15 April 2021, a total of 671,589 people received one or both doses of their COVID-19 vaccines. While we have no idea how many are healthcare workers, they are all frontline workers.

With an attack rate (risk) of approximately 1.0%, we would expect 6,716 of these frontliners to get infected with COVID-19, if they were not vaccinated.

Yet only 182 vaccinated healthcare workers ended up getting infected.

Assuming just half of those vaccinated are healthcare workers, that’s an infection rate of 0.054% – which almost exactly matches the expected vaccine breakthrough rate for the Pfizer COMIRNATY vaccine.

This is actually better than expected, since many of those infected were partially vaccinated, and healthcare workers generally have greater exposure to COVID-19.

On 19 April 2021, JKJAV revealed that there were only 9 infections out of 272,109 fully-vaccinated healthcare workers.

That works out to an incredibly low vaccine breakthrough rate of just 0.0033%, far below what we should expect!

Fact #3 : This Chart Shows The Vaccines Working!

This chart that Dr. Noor Hisham shared actually shows how effective the vaccines are. Out of 426 infected healthcare workers :

  • 57% were not vaccinated
  • 34% only received one dose
  • 7% were infected less than 2 weeks after their second dose
  • 2% were infected more than 2 weeks after their second dose

In other words, the vaccines will protect you, but you need to get both doses and you must protect yourself until your immune response hits its peak about two weeks after your second dose.

Fact #4 : Precautions Necessary Until Herd Immunity Achieved!

Herd immunity prevents vaccine breakthrough – vaccinated people getting infected – by breaking the transmission chain.

However, this is only possible when we achieve a high rate of vaccination – some 70%-80% of the population.

Until that happens, we must all practice the usual precautionary measures against COVID-19.

Chile, for example, has vaccinated some 40% of their population, and yet is in the throes of a massive surge in COVID-19 cases.

Recommended : COVID-19 Vaccine Breakthrough : What You Need To Know!

Fact #5 : The Vaccines Prevent Severe Disease + Death!

As Dr. Noor Hisham himself pointed out, all those who were vaccinated but got infected anyway, had less severe symptoms.

As we pointed out in our article on choosing the best COVID-19 vaccine, vaccine efficacy comparisons blind us to the fact that ALL approved vaccines will greatly protect us against death and severe disease.

Even the Sinovac CoronaVac, which is hardly the best vaccine in the market, is effective in preventing severe disease and death.

Recommended : Which COVID-19 Vaccine Should YOU Choose?

COVID-19 Vaccine Protection Against
Pfizer Comirnaty 95.0% 100% 100%
Sinovac CoronaVac 50.65% 83.7% 100%


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