People who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 can still get the infection. But these “breakthrough infections” are very, very rare, according to new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Previously, the CDC identified 5,800 people out of 76 million who had been fully vaccinated and developed a COVID-19 infection anyway. And new data continues to show just how rare these infections are: Out of 101 million people who were fully vaccinated by the end of April, the CDC identified 10,262 breakthrough infections, which amounts to just 0.01% of fully vaccinated folks.
Not only is that a very small percentage of people to develop breakthrough infections, but also the vast majority of those who did develop COVID-19 after being fully vaccinated did not require hospitalization. Out of those 10,262 people who developed breakthrough infections, 995 (10%) were hospitalized and 160 (2%) patients died. Additionally, 2,725 people (27%) didn’t develop symptoms at all.
It’s important to note, though, that the CDC data suggests those who did develop breakthrough infections were more likely to be infected with a coronavirus variant. The researchers were only able to get the genetic data for 555 of the infections included here, but of those cases, nearly two-thirds were caused by coronavirus variants of concern. That includes 199 cases of B.1.1.7 (originally identified in the U.K.) and 88 cases of B.1.429 (first found in California), as well as cases of B.1.427 (also first identified in California), P.1 (seen first in Japan and Brazil), and B.1.351 (identified first in South Africa) strains.
Overall, the new study is a reminder of just how much protection you can get against COVID-19 once you’re fully vaccinated. Although these data suggest the vaccines appear to be somewhat less effective against some coronavirus variants, they are still quite effective. And that underscores why it’s so important to get vaccinated as soon as you can—the more the virus is allowed to replicate, the more chances there are for worrying mutations to emerge. The best way to protect yourself against all coronavirus strains is to get fully vaccinated.