The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has revealed that 5,800 fully vaccinated Americans have become infected with COVID-19 even after receiving two shots of vaccines. However, 66 million people in the country have been vaccinated with the vaccines, CDC stated.
The 5,800 infections are called breakthrough cases and they come down to 0.008% of the total number of people who are fully vaccinated in the United States. The infections occurred two weeks or more after the individuals received their final and second vaccine doses. The CDC noted that while 29% of the infected people did not show any symptoms, 7% were hospitalized, and 74 people died from the second wave of infection.
But then, the CDC said they are not clear about the exact type of COVID-19 vaccine shots received by the people infected. It is also not clear if the affected people had other factors that contributed to their infection or even death, the federal agency disclosed. The agency also noted that the breakthrough cases occurred in people over 60 years of age and 65% of them were women.
CDC director, Rochelle Walensky, however, tried to pinpoint some factors that may be responsible for breakthrough cases. According to him, some of the people who got infected with COVID-19 after receiving the two shots of the vaccines failed to generate an immune response to the disease, and others are simply reinfected with the mutated variant of the coronavirus.
This fact was supported by a physician in infectious diseases for the Northwell Health System, David Hirschwerk. According to him, aged people with weakened immunity may not be able to muster up enough antibodies to fight off the pandemic, and some people became overwhelmed by a very heavy viral load from a superspreader event.
“The experience so far is that the vaccine remains highly effective and those who did have breakthrough infections have had very mild and manageable illnesses,” Hirschwerk stated. “This is really what we see each season with the influenza vaccine.”
The top US infectious disease expert and leader of the White House task force on COVID-19, Dr. Anthony Fauci, said breakthrough cases are bound to occur given that none of the COVID-19 vaccines currently in use in the United States has 100% protection against the pandemic. He warned that infections are expected in people who get fully vaccinated with the vaccines twice because the effectiveness rate of the drugs is within 90% to 97% for now.
Most health experts still emphasize that the vaccines are effective despite the infections and that they remain the only line of defense against the pandemic for now.