High number due to robust Covid testing and reporting, officials say
By Guy Page
“Vaccine breakthrough” is the term used by public health experts to describe a vaccinated person getting Covid-19, anyway. Vermont ‘vaccine breakthrough’ rate is small – but still 10 times higher than the national average, according to statistics shared today by Health Commissioner Mark Levine.
“My caution here is don’t jump to premature conclusions,” Levine said. Vermont’s high numbers, in comparison with the other 49 states, are mostly due to our better Covid testing and reporting, he said. Other states may not be reporting ‘vaccine breakthrough’ as well as Vermont, he said.
The CDC recently released statistics showing that nationally, 5814 cases of Covid-19 have been reported among 75 million fully vaccinated Americans, Levine said. That works out to a rate of .00007.
The CDC reported the following nationwide statistics:
- Vaccine breakthrough infections were reported among people of all ages eligible for vaccination – with 2,622 (45%) of the reported infections were among people 60 years of age or older.
- 3,752 (65%) of the people experiencing a breakthrough infection were female.
- 1,695 (29%) of the vaccine breakthrough infections were reported as asymptomatic.
- 396 (7%) people with breakthrough infections were known to be hospitalized and 74 (1%) died.
In Vermont, 120 ‘vaccine breakthrough’ cases have been reported. According to recent statistics, 174,000 Vermonters have been fully vaccinated – meaning a ‘vaccine breakthrough’ rate of .0007, or 10 times the national rate.
300,000 have received at least one shot, for a vaccine breakthrough rate of .0004, or about six times the national rate. Levine noted that vaccine breakthrough cases tend to show mild symptoms.
Commissioner Levine and Gov. Scott were asked by Vermont Daily, “how do you explain why Vermont’s ‘vaccine breakthrough’ rate is about 10 times higher than the national average?”
“We test a lot in Vermont,” Scott replied. He asked Commissioner Levine to provide more background.
There’s going to be variable reporting around the country,” Levine said. “We may not be seeing the full picture from other states.” He added, “testing is a big part of it,” and “we have a really rich tradition of reporting.”
Scott urged Vermonters to see the big picture. There are three vaccines with 95% efficacy but that “there’s still a chance…you still could transmit or contract the virus.” But the vaccination program has successfully reduced hospitalizations and deaths, he said.