Four people in Oregon, who were fully immunized with the COVID-19 vaccine, have tested positive for coronavirus, health officials revealed on Friday.
This makes Oregon among the first states to report ‘breakthrough cases,’ which occur when people test positive for the virus at least 14 days after receiving their second dose of the vaccine.
Both vaccines approved for emergency use authorizations – Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna – are 95 percent effective, meaning five percent who get vaccinated may still get sick, which official says is serious but not surprising.
‘[This is] not to be unexpected in a vaccine that while phenomenal, with 95 percent effectiveness, still means five percent may still be infected,’ Dr Patrick Allen, director of Oregon Health Authority (OHA) said at a Friday press conference
Two of the breakthrough cases are in Yamhill County, about 40 miles from Portland, and the other two are located in Lane County, about 135 miles away.
Officials say the four people had few to no symptoms, which appear to back studies suggesting that the vaccine may help reduce the severity of the illness.
While the OHA wasn’t able to give details about where these cases came from, their ages or when they got their last vaccine, they said 2 of the 4 cases are associated with a single location where a cluster is.
Four people in Oregon, who were fully immunized with the COVID-19 vaccine, have tested positive for coronavirus, all of whom had mild to no symptoms. Pictured: An Oregonian aged 80 or older receives a COVID-19 vaccinations at the Oregon Convention Center in Portland, February 10
Both vaccines, from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna, are 95% effective, meaning 5% of all people will fall ill, so officials say there are bound to be more of these ‘breakthrough cases’ (above)
At the press conference on Friday, Dr Dean Sidelinger, the health authority’s state health officer, said no vaccine provides 100 percent protection, which means there will be more breakthrough cases.
‘What all this means is that we can expect to see more breakthrough cases,’ Dean Sidelinger, the health authority’s state health officer.
‘Getting as many Oregonians as possible vaccinated remains a critical objective to ending the pandemic.
‘Based on what we know about vaccines for other diseases and early data from clinical trials, experts believe that getting a COVID-19 vaccine may also help keep you from getting seriously ill, even if you do get sick.’
It is unclear yet if any of the four infections involved newer variants of the virus from the UK, South Africa or Brazil.
OHA is currently attempting to get samples from these patients and is sending them to the CDC to be tested in a genomic surveillance program.
Officials are hoping to have data about the cases available by this week
In addition, the health authority announced on Friday that the number of people receiving the COVID-19 vaccine in Oregon and the amount of doses being shipped to the state have increased.
However multiple vaccine locations were forced to close Friday and Saturday due to snowy and icy weather.
Currently, 10 percent of Oregon’s population have received at least a first dose of COVID-19 vaccine.
Currently, an average of between 1.6 and 1.7 million Americans are being vaccinated every day
A total of 38.2 million Americans – 11.6% of the population – have received at least one dose while 14 million – 4.2% – have received both doses
‘Although still scarce, vaccines are becoming more widely available. More Oregonians are getting vaccinated by the day,’ Sidelinger said.
Health officials announced Friday that Oregon’s weekly allocation of first doses is again increasing, from 75,000 to 82,000.
‘These additional doses will help ensure our timelines stay on track and we may even get through our population of older adults sooner, but it’s still too early to tell,’ Allen said.
In the US, more than 70 million doses have been shipped to states and more than 52.8 million have been administered, according to the CDC.
A total of 38.2 million Americans – 11.6 percent of the population – have received at least one dose while 14 million – 4.2 percent – have received both doses.
Currently, an average of between 1.6 and 1.7 million people are being vaccinated every day.
Health officials say they want to reiterate the importance of getting vaccinated as soon as doses become available to you..
‘The COVID-19 vaccine is safe and effective. The benefits of the vaccine far outweigh the risks of getting COVID-19,’ general surgeon D. Mary Giswold told the AP.