Vermont health chief says ‘vaccine breakthrough’ cases are possible


A small percentage of people may still get sick from COVID-19 after being fully vaccinated in what are called vaccine breakthrough cases, Vermont Health Commissioner Dr. Mark Levine said on Tuesday.

“Because as effective as they are, no vaccines are 100% effective at preventing illness,” he said during the governor’s twice weekly virus briefing. Levine said he believed that there have been 125 such cases in Vermont.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates the rate of vaccine breakthrough is .007%, Levine said.

“According to national data, these COVID-19 cases were in people of all ages, 45% were 60 or older, 65% female, 29% had no symptoms. Importantly, just 396 people nationwide —7% with breakthrough infections —were known to be hospitalized and 74, or 1% died,” Levine said.

He pointed out that the data relies on voluntary reporting from state health departments so may not be a complete picture and some cases may not be found because people did not get tested.

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