So far, 168 Oregons have tested positive for coronavirus despite being fully vaccinated against COVID-19, leaving 19 hospitalized and three dead – numbers so small that officials said they were “good news.”
The number of cases means that of the 700,000 people who obtained full immunity, only 0.024% became infected anyway.
“This shows that the vaccines work really well,”
While coronavirus vaccines have been shown to be effective in preventing hospitalizations and deaths among those who become infected, no vaccine is foolproof. Sutton was also not surprised by the number of deaths and hospitalizations.
“They’re unlucky, of course,” Sutton said. But the numbers were “no more than we expected.”
State officials calculated the number of so-called “breakthrough cases” among Oregons who had reached full immunity, coming two weeks after a final dose of vaccine. Officials are tracking the cases because they could point to dangerous mutations of the virus.
It’s unclear how many, if any, of the breakthrough cases Oregon reported were caused by virus variants, Sutton said, though none of them are known to be.
Government officials said many of the people with identified breakthrough cases reported no symptoms and were tested for other reasons, such as workers in care facilities to be screened at least once a month.
None of the three deaths were tied to a variant, the state said. The state’s information is current until 2 April.
Oregon has now identified 294 cases driven by variants that the federal government is concerned about. However, the health authority only has detailed case data for 23.
This is because the state identified the other 271 variant cases before federal health officials said the specific versions of the virus needed to be closely monitored. As a result, at the time Oregon discovered these variants, it did not check whether the people infected with them had been vaccinated.
Oregon’s announcement Thursday makes it at least the seventh state number to publish breakthrough cases. Officials initially denied a registration request from The Oregonian / OregonLive for the data.
Lawmakers said the state should disclose how many such cases health researchers identified. They also criticized the state for hiding behind a law that allows officials to hide information about health examinations they want, with a bill awaiting legislation to improve transparency.
Sutton said the agency will continue to update numbers on breakthrough cases once a month.
– Fedor Zarkhin