The COVID-19 vaccine has been rolling out in Idaho for weeks now, and nearly 280,000 Idahoans have been fully vaccinated. The state has seen 97 rare "breakthrough" cases of people testing positive for the virus two weeks after getting their second dose.
The number is small - but to be expected with any vaccine.
“No vaccine is 100% effective. We did expect we would see some instances of people being exposed to the virus after being vaccinated then test positive for the virus that causes COVID-19,” Deputy State Epidemiologist Kathryn Turner said.
The 97 people who have been recorded as breakthrough cases equal less than half a percentage of those Idahoans who are fully vaccinated. According to Turner, half of the infections have been asymptomatic
“The people who we talked to reported they had no symptoms and they were tested for reasons other than illness. Maybe ongoing testing at their workplace or maybe they were in close contact to case and thought they should be tested,” Turner said.
With the other half of individuals who did get sick, 80 percent reported very mild symptoms such as a head-cold or some experienced moderate flu-like symptoms.
While breakthrough cases are rare yet expected, the Center for Disease and Control and Prevention has found Pfizer and Moderna to be 90 percent effective at preventing COVID-19 cases. In a recent study, it is stated that those fully vaccinated are 90 percent less likely to get infected.
Out of the 97 breakthrough cases, only 3 required hospitalization.
“These were folks that had preexisting serious medical conditions that put them at very high risk for severe disease,” Turner said.
Three other breakthrough infections have been identified as variant strains. All of them have been identified as what is known as the “California variant.”
Of the breakthrough cases, 53 percent received the Pfizer vaccine and 47 percent had Moderna. Most who received the Johnson and Johnson vaccines should be just at the two-week mark of getting a dose, so no breakthrough cases from the vaccine have been recorded in Idaho yet.