What are the current vaccination numbers?
According to Missouri’s COVID-19 dashboard, 1.7 million people in the state are fully vaccinated as of today. Full vaccination requires for both doses of the FDA-approved vaccine to be distributed, including a two-week waiting period completed after the final dose for maximum efficacy.
According to reporting done by the AP, the state reported a total of 14 breakthrough cases. Counties tracking themselves, however, are reporting numbers in the dozens, as of April 29.
What is a “breakthrough case”?
A breakthrough case is defined by the CDC as a situation where someone who has been fully vaccinated contracts COVID-19.
One reason for the disparity in reported breakthrough cases could be that, while some counties have been monitoring these cases and tracking them independently, there was no clear path on reporting them at a state level until recently.
According to a recent protocol statement made by the CDC, there is a path of reporting, analyzing and confirming the cases that must be followed before they can be reported in state or national statistics.
“Cases will be reported to CDC through state or territorial health departments,” the CDC said. “These health departments will enter, store, and manage data for cases in their jurisdiction directly in the national COVID-19 vaccine breakthrough REDCap database.”
This means that, even if counties keep track on their own through a network of local health departments, laboratories, healthcare providers and more, the process of their cases making it to statewide data may be slow going.
How important is it to keep track of these cases?
The CDC emphasizes the importance of monitoring the number of breakthrough cases to “identify unexpected trends or clustering in the patients (i.e., demographics, geography, underlying medical conditions, time since vaccine receipt and clinical severity), the administered vaccine (i.e., type, dosing, lot, storage and handling) or infecting virus (i.e., variant strains and mutations).”
While the idea of contracting COVID-19 after going through the vaccination process may be disappointing, it is important to understand that it is not something to necessarily fear.
These cases are to be expected, as no vaccine is 100% effective.
“There will be a small percentage of people who are fully vaccinated who still get sick, are hospitalized or die from COVID-19,” the CDC said.
However, don’t panic – the CDC makes it clear that, compared to people with similar risk factors, the symptoms of a breakthrough case are likely be less severe than an unvaccinated COVID-19 patient.