Of the 77 million Americans who are fully vaccinated, here’s how many were infected with COVID anyway

vaccinated people who get covid infections hospitalizations death
Photo via MrTMan/Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

While many Americans are receiving COVID-19 vaccines and getting the protection that vaccines afford, they’re not entirely failsafe. Indeed, the Centers for Disease Controls and Prevention has reported that nearly 5,800 people vaccinated against COVID out of 77 million have become infected. 

CNN reported, in an April 15 story, on what are known as “breakthrough cases” of COVID-19, occurring in vaccinated patients. 

“So far, about 5,800 breakthrough cases have been reported to CDC,” a CDC spokesperson told CNN via email, adding that, “to date, no unexpected patterns have been identified in case demographics or vaccine characteristics.” 

The CDC also observed in that report, “Vaccine breakthrough infections were reported among all people of all ages eligible for vaccination. However, a little over 40% of the infections were in people 60 or more years of age.” 

Of the nearly 5,800 cases reported so far, 396 of those who got infected after they were vaccinated—or about 7%—required hospitalization, and 74 died. 

The article noted that as the vaccines are not 100% effective in preventing infections, breakthrough cases were anticipated, and more are expected as vaccinations continue. 

The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine has about 95% efficacy, about the same as the Moderna version, and both companies have showed data that says the vaccine is about 90% effective for six months. 

Meanwhile, Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine fared less well but was still considered an effective tool based on its efficacy rates—66% in global trials, with 72% effective at preventing disease within the U.S. before it was halted on April 13.

ProPublica, in its April 14 article on COVID-19 breakthrough cases, remarked, “Public health experts are anxious that these cases not be blown out of proportion and discourage people from getting vaccinated. Yet they also say it’s critical to track and study these cases, because scientists do not fully understand who is susceptible to vaccine failure.” 

It went on to say that “as the coronavirus continues to mutate, breakthrough cases may be the leading indicator of a new variant that is more resistant to a vaccine, which could necessitate manufacturers adapting their vaccines or developing booster shots.”

For now, it’s believed the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines are both effective against coronavirus variants.

Read more on the coronavirus vaccines:

Sources: CNN, ProPublica

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