PHMDC data shows COVID-19 breakthrough infections are rare

Out of over 350,000 people in Dane County to be fully vaccinated, only 200 have tested positive for COVID.
Published: Jul. 14, 2021 at 5:10 PM CDT|Updated: Jul. 14, 2021 at 6:40 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - A breakthrough infection is when someone tests positive for COVID-19 14 or more days after completing the recommended doses of a vaccine series.

Public Health Madison and Dane County officials are keeping a close eye on the breakthrough infections through collecting data.

Since January 2021, over 350,000 people within Dane County has completed the vaccine series. Of that number, 206 have tested positive.

Katarina Grande, the COVID-19 Data Team Lead, says 99.93% of people who have been fully vaccinated have not tested positive.

“So what we see is that the vaccines still do an excellent job at preventing those severe outcomes like hospitalizations and death,” said Grande. “Fewer than ten of those infections resulted in hospitalizations.”

Public health officials say breakthrough infections are not tied to any one time period.

“Even if you were vaccinated back in January, you are no more likely to have a breakthrough infection than if you were vaccinated recently,” added Grande.

Grande says what we’re seeing locally reflects what’s happening at the state and national level surrounding breakthrough infections.

“People testing positive after being vaccinated remains very low and very rare,” said Grande.

Dr. Ann Sheehy, who works in the COVID-19 ICU at UW Health, says even if a breakthrough infection happens, severe illness is even more rare.

“Nothing is perfect and this vaccine isn’t perfect either, but it’s very, very good compared to other vaccines that we have,” said Sheehy. “Preventing that severe disease is the main takeaway.”

Sheehy says a majority of the patients she’s caring for in the hospital are those who chose not to get the vaccine.

“It’s heartbreaking to us at this point because we know that some of these patients are going to struggle,” said Sheehy.

To take a closer look at the data compiled by PHMDC on breakthrough infections, click HERE.

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