The News Tribune (Tacoma, Wash.)
The first known cases of people developing COVID-19 after they were completely vaccinated were confirmed Tuesday in Washington, according to the state Department of Health. Two potential deaths are being investigated.
In vaccine parlance, people who develop a disease after they have been vaccinated for it are called “vaccine breakthrough” cases.
DOH said it is investigating the 102 breakthrough cases which have occurred in people at least two weeks after they were fully vaccinated. Eight people were sick enough to be hospitalized.
As of Tuesday, 1.23 million Washington residents have been fully vaccinated.
Breakthrough cases are expected with any vaccine, DOH cautioned. The three vaccines currently in use offer no more than 95% effectiveness. That means for every 100 people who are fully vaccinated, five could be infected with COVID-19 if they are exposed to it.
Both of the two patients who died were over 80 years old and had underlying health issues, DOH said.
The majority of Washington’s breakthrough cases experienced no or mild symptoms, DOH said. Cases have been identified in 18 Washington counties.
“It is important to remember that every vaccine on the market right now prevents severe disease and death in most cases,” said DOH secretary Umair Shah.
DOH said it will provide regular reports on breakthrough cases starting in April.
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