The more infection rates go up in the background, the more you’re going to see disease among people who were immunized. People need to be aware that, to the extent that we can keep the incidence down, the better off everyone’s going to be. — Dr. Paul McKinney, associate dean at the University of Louisville’s school of public health in Kentucky
The more infection rates go up in the background, the more you’re going to see disease among people who were immunized. People need to be aware that, to the extent that we can keep the incidence down, the better off everyone’s going to be. — Dr. Paul McKinney, associate dean at the University of Louisville’s school of public health in Kentucky
See the Data on Breakthrough Covid Hospitalizations and Deaths by State
Serious coronavirus infections among vaccinated people have been relatively rare since the start of the vaccination campaign, a New York Times analysis of data from 40 states and Washington, D.C., shows. Fully vaccinated people have made up as few as 0.1 percent of and as many as 5 percent of those hospitalized with the virus in those states, and as few as 0.2 percent and as many as 6 percent of those who have died.

... Data on less serious breakthrough infections is not widely available, though it is possible those cases are rising. Data was not available for several states in which the virus has been surging, including Florida and Missouri.

Until recently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated that fully vaccinated people accounted for less than 3 percent of coronavirus hospitalizations nationwide and less than 1 percent of virus deaths. But last week, the agency noted that those figures did not reflect new data involving the Delta variant and said it was actively working to update them. Only about 50 percent of people in the United States are fully vaccinated.

Looking at how many hospitalizations and deaths have involved fully vaccinated people is a common but crude measure of how well the vaccines are working.

As more people get shots, the percentage of hospitalizations and deaths among fully vaccinated people should rise. This may seem counterintuitive, so it’s important to understand why.

In a state with a high vaccination rate, a higher percentage of breakthroughs may simply reflect that fully vaccinated people are a bigger chunk of the population, or that there are few hospitalizations and deaths overall. Imagine a state where just two people are hospitalized but both are vaccinated — breakthroughs would account for 100 percent of the hospitalizations in that state, even though these cases were very rare.

... “The more infection rates go up in the background, the more you’re going to see disease among people who were immunized,” said Dr. Paul McKinney, associate dean at the University of Louisville’s school of public health in Kentucky. “People need to be aware that, to the extent that we can keep the incidence down, the better off everyone’s going to be.”

It does not help that, in recent weeks, new research has shown that vaccinated people, if they become infected, can carry high levels of the coronavirus.


Although at least 80 percent of people 65 and older are vaccinated in the United States, surging cases could still present an elevated risk for them. It is possible, epidemiologists said, that seniors and people with compromised immune systems could be particularly vulnerable in a surge, even if they were fully vaccinated, because their bodies might not produce a strong immune response from the vaccine. The Food and Drug Administration is speeding efforts to authorize booster shots for people with weakened immune systems.
Read the full article: https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2021/08/10/us/covid-breakthrough-infections-vaccines.html