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Here’s what epidemiologists know so far about Alaska’s COVID-19 ‘vaccine breakthrough’ cases

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A comparatively small group of Alaskans who had been totally vaccinated towards COVID-19 have since examined optimistic for the coronavirus.

They are known as “vaccine breakthrough” cases — and are uncommon in comparison with the full variety of folks totally vaccinated, health officers say. By late final week, 310 breakthrough cases had been detected in Alaska, out of the greater than 250,000 Alaskans who’re thought of totally vaccinated.

A brand new report launched this week by the state health division analyzed the primary 152 breakthrough COVID-19 cases recognized in Alaska between February and March.

The report reveals that the overwhelming majority of the breakthrough cases in Alaska have so far been gentle or asymptomatic — which aligns with evidence that present the vaccines to be significantly efficient at stopping extreme sickness and dying.

The outcomes of the report additionally underscore the truth that “it’s very, very uncommon to have vaccine breakthrough cases,” mentioned Dr. Joe McLaughlin, state epidemiologist with the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services, throughout a name with reporters Thursday.

A small variety of vaccine breakthrough cases are anticipated as a result of “no vaccines are 100% effective at preventing illness,” in line with a CDC webpage on vaccine breakthroughs. “There will be a small percentage of people who are fully vaccinated who still get sick, are hospitalized, or die from COVID-19,” the CDC mentioned.

In medical trials, the three at the moment obtainable COVID-19 vaccines from Johnson & Johnson, Moderna and Pfizer had been about 66%, 94% and 95% efficient, respectively, at stopping symptomatic COVID-19.

Over half of the 152 cases investigated within the Alaska report concerned individuals who had been asymptomatic for all the course of their isolation durations. Nine p.c had been asymptomatic on the time of testing however later developed at the least one symptom of the virus, and about 1 / 4 had been symptomatic on the time of testing.

One person with a breakthrough case within the state wanted to be hospitalized, and one died, the report mentioned. Both folks had pre-existing situations that put them at a heightened danger for extreme sickness for COVID-19.

“Their COVID diagnosis wasn’t a singular event that caused their hospitalization, or caused their death,” Dr. Louisa Castrodale, an epidemiologist with the state health division who helped compile the report, mentioned Wednesday.

The majority of the cases had been recognized by routine, asymptomatic testing, together with throughout journey, or earlier than a health process or admit.

Alaska’s variety of vaccine breakthrough cases throughout the time-frame the report was carried out was considerably excessive in comparison with different states, health officers mentioned.

Partially, this was as a result of Alaska has been conducting on common about 3 times as a lot COVID-19 testing in comparison with the nationwide common — and Alaska was initially forward of the curve with its vaccine rollout, mentioned Dr. Anne Zink, the state’s chief medical officer, on Wednesday.

“We were testing a lot more people, and we had a lot more vaccinated,” she mentioned. “So I think it’s important to understand how Alaska is a little different when you’re comparing these numbers to national numbers.”

The report features a checklist of public health suggestions and reminders that align with current CDC guidance for totally vaccinated folks:

• Testing is now not beneficial for asymptomatic vaccinated people who find themselves shut contacts of somebody with COVID-19, or who journey.

• Anyone with COVID-19 signs ought to get examined instantly no matter their vaccination standing.

• Anyone contaminated with COVID-19 should comply with commonplace isolation procedures, no matter their vaccination standing.

• Those 16 and older ought to get vaccinated towards COVID-19.

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