June 27, 2021 Updated: June 27, 2021
A pharmacy student prepares a Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine in Los Angeles, Calif., on May 7, 2021. (Frederic J. Brown/AFP via Getty Images)
VACCINES & SAFETY
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said that more than 4,000 people have been hospitalized or died from COVID-19 “breakthrough” cases.
In an update late last week, the agency said that 4,115 people have been hospitalized or have died from COVID-19 despite having been fully vaccinated.
The total number of individuals who have died from COVID-19 after being vaccinated is 750, according to the agency. It noted that 76 percent of hospitalizations and deaths from breakthrough cases occurred among individuals over the age of 65.
“As of June 21, 2021, more than 150 million people in the United States had been fully vaccinated against COVID-19,” said the agency in its June 25 update. “During the same time, CDC received reports from 47 U.S. states and territories of 4,115 patients with COVID-19 vaccine breakthrough infection who were hospitalized or died.”
Federal health officials have downplayed the new data and said that they had anticipated breakthrough cases, illnesses, and deaths.
“To be expected,” Dr. Paul Offit, a top advisor to the Food and Drug Administration on children’s vaccines, told CNBC on June 25. “The vaccines aren’t 100 percent effective, even against severe disease. Very small percentage of the 600,000 deaths.”
On May 1, the CDC announced that it had stopped counting all breakthrough cases and only reports on those that lead to hospitalization or death.
COVID-19 is the illness caused by the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, otherwise known as novel coronavirus.
The CDC update comes as Israeli officials said last week that during a recent outbreak of COVID-19, about half of the adults infected in the recent outbreak were fully vaccinated.
Ran Balicer, who leads an expert advisory panel for the Israeli government, in announcing the finding on June 25, said that the country might end up in lockdown again. Balicer and other officials said that 90 percent of the new cases were caused by the so-called “Delta” COVID-19 variant.
“The entrance of the Delta variant has changed the transition dynamics,” he told The Wall Street Journal.
The Massachusetts Department of Public Health reported last week that nearly 4,000 people who were fully vaccinated have tested positive for the virus.
“We’re learning that many of the breakthrough infections are asymptomatic, or they’re very mild and brief in duration,” Boston University infectious diseases specialist Davidson Hamer said, according to local media. “The viral load is not very high.”
And Hamer—like Offit—also downplayed the breakthrough infections, saying they’re to be expected.
“Breakthroughs are expected, and we need to better understand who’s at risk and whether people who have a breakthrough can transmit the virus to others,” Hamer said. “In some cases, they’ll be shedding such low levels of the virus and won’t be transmitting to others.”