Health Care

Less Than 0.01 Percent of Vaccinated Americans Developed Severe COVID Breakthrough Case, CDC Says

A nurse administers a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus disease at a Pinellas County vaccination event held at the Salvador Dali Museum in St. Petersburg, Fla., August 6, 2021. (Octavio Jones/Reuters)

According to the latest data released by the CDC, less than 0.01 percent of vaccinated individuals have developed COVID breakthrough infections resulting in serious health complications or death.

As of August 2, more than 164 million people have been fully inoculated against the disease, CDC numbers indicate. Less than 0.01 percent of this population have suffered severe or fatal cases of COVID when they contracted it post-vaccination. Since the vaccine’s distribution, the agency has received reports of 7,525 patients with COVID-19 vaccine breakthrough infections who were hospitalized or died.

“Vaccine breakthrough cases are expected. COVID-19 vaccines are effective and are a critical tool to bring the pandemic under control. However, no vaccines are 100% effective at preventing illness in vaccinated people. There will be a small percentage of fully vaccinated people who still get sick, are hospitalized, or die from COVID-19,” the CDC wrote.

People aged 65 or older experienced the bulk, about 74 percent, of the reported severe breakthrough infections. About 21 percent of the approximately 1,500 people who died after contracting COVID after vaccination were reported as asymptomatic or not related to COVID, the CDC confirmed.

Currently, the CDC uses the REDCap database to report cases, “where designated state health department investigators can enter, store, and manage data for cases in their jurisdiction.” In the future, the CDC plans to transition to the National Notifiable Diseases Surveillance System (NNDSS) to account for vaccine breakthrough cases.

Since May, the CDC has only been monitoring hospitalized or fatal cases rather than all vaccine breakthrough cases. “This shift will help maximize the quality of the data collected on cases of greatest clinical and public health importance,” the organization said.

While 10,262 total vaccine breakthrough infections were reported to the CDC from 46 U.S. states and territories as of April 30, 2021, still only a fraction of these cases proved to be life-threatening or reason to seek emergency medical attention. Nearly 3,000 of these vaccine breakthrough infections were asymptomatic, 995 resulted in hospitalization, and 160 resulted in death.

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