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6 fully vaccinated people who attended an outdoor wedding caught the Delta variant, but the ones with Pfizer and Moderna shots didn't get very sick

Business Insider Australia logo Business Insider Australia 12/07/2021 Hilary Brueck
a dining table with a birthday cake
  • Six fully vaccinated people who attended an outdoor wedding in Texas came down with COVID-19.
  • All the breakthrough infections were in guests over 50.
  • There were two serious cases, including one death, in attendees who'd had India's Covaxin vaccine.
  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

Six fully vaccinated people who attended an outdoor wedding in Texas in April came down with COVID-19 - a small outbreak that underscores how effective US-authorized vaccines are against even variants of the virus.

Though the vaccines made by Pfizer and Moderna may not knock out every COVID-19 case, especially now that the more infectious Delta variant dominates across the US, they are very good at preventing serious illness and death from COVID-19.

A preprint study from Baylor College of Medicine found that only people who'd gotten an Indian-made vaccine, Covaxin, fell severely ill after attending the 92-person wedding near Houston in April.

The wedding took place in a "large, open-air tent" before the Delta variant was circulating widely in the US, the study said. Everyone in attendance was required to be fully vaccinated.

The study's authors suspect that the Delta variant was introduced at the wedding by two people who had traveled from India and tested negative before their flight but developed symptoms in the US.

Infections were mild in attendees who'd gotten vaccines from Pfizer or Moderna

a group of lawn chairs sitting on top of a grass covered field

All six guests who contracted symptomatic COVID-19 after the wedding were over 50. Two had gotten the vaccine from Pfizer, two had gotten the vaccine from Moderna, and two had gotten an Indian-made vaccine called Covaxin. Their infections were confirmed with lab tests and viral sequencing for Delta.

Each experienced some common symptoms of COVID-19, including fever, cough, fatigue, and body aches. Those who'd gotten the Moderna and Covaxin vaccines also lost their sense of smell.

But only the Covaxin recipients had severe infections. One was hospitalized and given Regeneron's monoclonal antibody treatment (the same one President Donald Trump received) 10 days after the wedding. The other died from complications of COVID-19.

US-authorized vaccines prevent death and severe sickness

Rochelle Walensky, the director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, has said vaccinated people should still get a COVID-19 test if they experience symptoms like a runny nose, sore throat, or cough, which can be indicative of a mild Delta infection among fully vaccinated people.

"What I would say is if you have those upper-respiratory symptoms and you've been vaccinated, you should absolutely get a COVID-19 test," Walensky said during a White House COVID-19 briefing last week.

But she also stressed that preliminary data from the past few months suggested that 99.5% of coronavirus deaths in the US were occurring in unvaccinated people.

"Those deaths were preventable with a simple, safe shot," she said.

During the briefing, Dr. Anthony Fauci, President Joe Biden's chief medical advisor, pointed to real-world data from Scotland and England suggesting that the vaccines authorized in the US are highly effective at preventing the most disastrous cases from this variant.

"Please get vaccinated," Fauci said. "It will protect you against the surging of the Delta variant."

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