Small Number Of Vaccinated Adults Later Tested Positive For Coronavirus, CDC Says

(Kamil Krzaczynski/AFP via Getty Images)

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Thomas Catenacci Energy & Environment Reporter
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About 5,800 individuals tested positive for coronavirus after receiving a complete dosage of the vaccine, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.

The number of people who have reportedly contracted coronavirus after vaccination represent a tiny sliver of the nearly 77 million fully-vaccinated Americans, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday. The CDC said that 396 people have required hospitalization and 74 people have died from the virus after they received a full coronavirus vaccine dosage, according to CNN.

“You will always see some breakthrough infections no matter the efficacy of your vaccine,” top U.S. infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci told the WSJ. “Before people get excited about the quantitative number of infections, they need to understand what the denominator is, and we’re going to see breakthroughs in numbers that are going to be well within the 90%, 95%, 97% effectiveness rates of the vaccines.”

The figures are in line with what experts had expected before the U.S. kickstarted its massive vaccination campaign late last year, according to the WSJ. Health officials reiterated that the vaccines are highly effective, but not 100% perfect in preventing all infection. (RELATED: Poll: Americans Further Polarized On Vaccine Safety After CDC Pauses Johnson & Johnson Shot)

Dr. Anthony Fauci briefs reporters about the U.S. vaccination effort at the White House on April 13. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Dr. Anthony Fauci briefs reporters about the U.S. vaccination effort at the White House on April 13. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Officials said the numbers suggest that people who have been vaccinated should continue to follow social distancing and masking protocols, the WSJ reported. However, far below 1% of fully-vaccinated individuals have died from coronavirus, according to the CDC data.

So-called “breakthrough infections” usually occur in older people with compromised immune systems, Dr. David Hirschwerk, a New York infectious-diseases physician, told the WSJ. Coronavirus variants, which may evade protections vaccines create, may also contribute to these kinds of infections.

“The experience so far is that the vaccine remains highly effective and those who did have breakthrough infections have had very mild and manageable illnesses,” Dr. Hirschwerk told the WSJ. “This is really what we see each season with the influenza vaccine.”

The CDC is expected to publish its current breakthrough infection data in the coming weeks, according to the WSJ.

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