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CDC releases data on rare ‘breakthrough’ COVID-19 infections among fully vaccinated Americans

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(WASHINGTON) — The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Tuesday announced that they have identified just over 10,000 so-called “breakthrough infections” of COVID-19 among Americans who have been fully vaccinated against the virus.

“Despite the high level of vaccine efficacy,” the CDC says, “a small percentage of fully vaccinated persons…will develop symptomatic or asymptomatic infections.”

The agency shared data that showed approximately 101 million Americans have been fully vaccinated as of April 30. The 10,262 identified breakthrough infections represent just .01 percent of thoe fully vaccinated Americans.

The CDC does, though, identify some shortcomings in its data.

“The number of reported COVID-19 vaccine breakthrough cases is likely a substantial undercount of all SARS-CoV-2 infections among fully vaccinated persons,” the agency says, noting that their surveillance system relies on “passive and voluntary reporting,” meaning “data might not be complete or representative.”

Additionally, they say that many people who experience breakthrough infections might not seek testing if they are asymptomatic, or if they experience only mild illness.

Among the identified breakthrough cases, the CDC says about 63 percent were among women, and the median age of patients was 58 years old. About 27 percent were asymptomatic, ten percent of patients were known to be hospitalized, and just two percent (160 patients) died.

Further, of the 995 hospitalized patients, 29 percent were either asymptomatic or hospitalized for a reason other than COVID-19.

Additionally, twenty-eight of the 160 patients who died, died of a cause unrelated to COVID-19.

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