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CDC email to News 5 reveals small percentage of vaccinated people are still getting COVID-19

CDC confirms 5,800 vaccine breakthrough infections
CDC email to News 5 confirms small percentage of vaccinated people still getting COVID-19
Posted at 5:04 AM, Apr 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-16 10:25:10-04

Federal health officials have released information to News 5 showing nationwide 5,800 people who were vaccinated still got COVID-19. News 5 takes a deep dive into this information and what it all means.

These are known as breakthrough infections and health officials say they were expected since none of the vaccines are 100% effective. Overall, the number of vaccinated people testing positive for COVID-19 is very small.

The CDC numbers sent to News 5 show of the more than 76 million people who are fully vaccinated, the CDC knows of 5,800 cases of breakthrough infections. It reports 29% percent of those people were asymptomatic, 65% percent were female, and 40% of infections were people over the age of 60.

Of those 5,800 breakthrough infection cases where people were vaccinated and still got COVID-19, the CDC reports 74 people died and 396 were hospitalized.

Here is what the CDC is saying about these numbers in an statement emailed to News 5 by Kristen Nordland from the CDC Public Affairs Office:

"Vaccine breakthrough infections make up a small percentage of people who are fully vaccinated. CDC recommends that all eligible people get a COVID-19 vaccine as soon as one is available to them. CDC also continues to recommend people who have been fully vaccinated should keep taking precautions in public places, like wearing a mask, staying at least 6 feet apart from others, avoiding crowds and poorly ventilated spaces, and washing their hands often."

El Paso County Public Health Medical Director Dr. Robin Johnson says the county does not have specific data on breakthrough cases locally, but she is aware of two cases in southern Colorado. She says it will be important for our region to do tracing of breakthrough cases and COVID-19 variants to stay a step ahead of the virus.

"Tracing those are incredibly important. As we see the breakthrough cases we also want to see if they tend to be a different variant, not only in the lab, but out in public. They may help to direct if in the future a booster will be needed," said Dr. Johnson.

The CDC tells News 5 it now has a database for states to contribute information about breakthrough cases as investigators work to see if any of these cases have common factors or demographics that can be addressed.