CDC Reports Extremely Small Number of COVID-19 Infections Among Those Fully Vaccinated

The CDC said this week roughly 5,800 "breakthrough cases" have been reported. Put another way, that's just 0.008 percent of 66 million vaccinated Americans.


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The CDC has reported on data surrounding the very small and largely expected amount of people who have been infected with COVID-19 after being fully vaccinated. But before we dig into any of that, do yourself and everyone around you a favor by making a vaccine appointment.

As first noted in a report from CNN on Thursday, roughly 5,800 people who have been vaccinated against the virus have been infected. Though this figure will likely be overblown with misleading coverage, it represents just a small fraction of the tens of millions of people who have been fully vaccinated. 

“So far, about 5,800 breakthrough cases have been reported to CDC,” the CDC said. “To date, no unexpected patterns have been identified in case demographics or vaccine characteristics.”

The CDC rep also noted that a little over 40 percent of those infections were from people 60 years of age or older, with 29 percent of them asymptomatic. An even smaller fraction of people—396 out of the reported 5,800—required some form of hospitalization.

A separate Wall Street Journal report points out that the 5,800 CDC-reported cases represent just 0.008 percent of the group of 66 million fully vaccinated Americans. Data on this issue, often referred to as “breakthrough cases,” is slightly delayed. At the time of this writing, the CDC was reporting that roughly 77 million people had been fully vaccinated in the U.S.

In short, these numbers are in line with what was expected by health officials given that currently available vaccines—though highly effective—are (of course) not 100-percent. And while these new numbers could be vaguely presented in headlines and elsewhere to prop up criticism, an actual read of the numbers shows the vaccines are working as predicted.

“Vaccine breakthrough infections make up a small percentage of people who are fully vaccinated,” the CDC said in an emailed statement to Complex on Thursday. “CDC recommends that all eligible people get a COVID-19 vaccine as soon as one is available to them. CDC also continues to recommend people who have been fully vaccinated should keep taking precautions in public places, like wearing a mask, staying at least 6 feet apart from others, avoiding crowds and poorly ventilated spaces, and washing their hands often.”

The CDC also provided Complex with the following breakdown of the 5,800 cases reported among vaccinated individuals as of April 13:

“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 years of age. 

Earlier this month, Pfizer confirmed high efficacy and no serious safety concerns by way of an updated topline analysis of its vaccine study. The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was shown to be 91.3 percent effective against COVID-19 when measured seven days through up to six months after the second and final dose.

Moderna, meanwhile, said this month that efficacy for its vaccine starting two weeks after the second dose remained consistent with prior updates, including greater than 90 percent efficacy against all COVID-19 cases and more than 95 percent against severe cases.

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