What’s a ‘breakthrough’ COVID case? Can I get a different vaccine if I received a Johnson and Johnson dose?

Local 4′s Frank McGeorge answers questions about COVID

What’s a ‘breakthrough’ COVID case? Can I get a different vaccine if I received a Johnson and Johnson dose?
What’s a ‘breakthrough’ COVID case? Can I get a different vaccine if I received a Johnson and Johnson dose?

DETROIT – Since the coronavirus pandemic began, Dr. Frank McGeorge has been keeping viewers up-to-date and informed on all fronts. He’s been answering your questions about the vaccine, the vaccination process and more.

Read: More answers to questions about coronavirus


What’s the difference between a breakthrough case and a variant infection?

If you are fully vaccinated and get COVID, that is called a “breakthrough case.” A variant is a strain of the coronavirus that has changed in some way from the original virus. A variant can cause a breakthrough case.

I received the Johnson and Johnson vaccine but I am now worried about the delta variant. I am 73 years old. Can I get a Pfizer vaccination too?

There is no official recommendation or clear data yet to guide the decision on a booster from another manufacturer. There are estimates that the Johnson and Johnson vaccine is probably about 60% effective against the delta variant. Depending on your other underlying risks or factors and the fact that vaccine is plentiful it might be a consideration after speaking with your doctor.

My husband, age 75, has diabetes and has been diagnosed with bladder cancer as a result of Agent Orange in Vietnam. He received the Johnson and Johnson vaccine on April 2, 2021. We recently heard that he might need to receive another shot of a vaccine to protect him from the newest variant. If this is true, which vaccine would you recommend he receive? We are scheduled to travel quite a bit in the next couple of months and I don’t want to endanger his health when we have come this far without contracting COVID-19.

Given his age and risk for immunocompromised as a result of cancer treatment a booster dose of vaccine is a solid consideration.

While there hasn’t been any official recommendation based on clear data there’s some preliminary information that the Pfizer vaccine would be a good choice in his circumstance. I would discuss it with his doctor.


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Questions about coronavirus? Ask Dr. McGeorge


About the Authors:

Dr. McGeorge can be seen on Local 4 News helping Metro Detroiters with health concerns when he isn't helping save lives in the emergency room at Henry Ford Hospital.

Kayla is a Web Producer for ClickOnDetroit. Before she joined the team in 2018 she worked at WILX in Lansing as a digital producer.