4 News Now Q&A: Are ‘breakthrough cases’ a reason not to get vaccinated?

Your Questions Answered

Q: Are ‘breakthrough cases’ a reason not to get vaccinated? 

A: Health experts have been telling us all along: the COVID vaccine is not guaranteed to protect you from getting infected. And now, we are starting to see that become a reality.

In Idaho, about 100 people vaccinated against COVID have since tested positive for the virus. They are what health experts are calling “breakthrough cases.” Those 97 breakthrough cases represent a little more than three-100ths of 1 percent of people who have been fully vaccinated.

RELATED: 97 fully vaccinated Idahoans contract COVID

In Washington, 102 people tested positive for COVID-19 despite being fully vaccinated. That is .01 percent of fully vaccinated people in the state.

RELATED: DOH confirms cases of fully vaccinated people contracting COVID-19 

Health experts in Washington and Idaho say of those cases in each state, only half experienced any symptoms at all. In Idaho, the three people who were hospitalized all had underlying health conditions. Two of the vaccinated people who got sick in Washington ended up dying. They both were older than 80 and had underlying conditions.

Still, when it comes to questions of efficacy, we know vaccines reduce the risk of catching COVID by up to 95 percent, and local health officials are more than happy with that number. They encourage people to get vaccinated as soon as possible, and to tell your friends, loved ones and co-workers to do the same.

“We’re already seeing decreases in the numbers of age groups that were fully vaccinated. We’re already seeing decreased hospitalizations in the numbers we’re vaccinating,” Dr. Scott Lindquist with the Washington Department of Health said. “I still strongly believe this vaccine has merit. It is not perfect, but 102 out of a million people. is a pretty small numbers. I don’t think this is a huge problem.”

The Department of Health says these infections are normal for all vaccines, but there are far more of these breakthrough cases for others, like the flu vaccine. It is also too early to tell if any of those 102 cases are linked to any of the new COVID variants.

A full report is expected to be released later this month.

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