The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has documented approximately 5,800 breakthrough coronavirus cases in individuals who have been vaccinated.
“All of the available vaccines have been proven effective at preventing severe illness, hospitalizations, and deaths,” the agency said in an emailed statement. “However, like is seen with other vaccines, we expect thousands of vaccine breakthrough cases will occur even though the vaccine is working as expected.”
The number of breakthrough incidents reported to the CDC represents far less than 1% of the Americans who have been fully vaccinated, which is over 76 million.
“Vaccine breakthrough infections make up a small percentage of people who are fully vaccinated,” the agency said. “CDC recommends that all eligible people get a COVID-19 vaccine as soon as one is available to them.”
Photos: America’s Pandemic Toll
The majority of the breakthrough cases were reported in women, and nearly 30% of the infections were asymptomatic. The agency said it has not found any “unexpected patterns” in the breakthrough data. It recommended that those who are fully vaccinated continue to wear masks and socially distance.
Still, he said that “even if a vaccine fails to protect against infection, it often protects against serious disease.”
CDC Director Rochelle Walensky addressed breakthrough cases during a hearing in front of Congress on Thursday.
“Some of these breakthroughs are, of course, failure of an immune response in the host, and then some of them, we worry, might be related to a variant that is circulating,” she said.
During the same hearing, Fauci criticized a study from researchers at Oxford University that suggested the risk of developing rare and severe blood clots is higher after infection with the coronavirus than it is following vaccination.
“”There were many, many, I would say, procedural gaps in here regarding the way the study was done. It was a well-meaning attempt to show that COVID-19 disease is followed by this complication, but they led to some suggestions that I think are not called for in the paper,” Fauci said.
His comments on the study, which has not been peer reviewed, came after federal agencies recommended a pause in the use of the Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine after six women developed severe blood clots following vaccination.