The COVID-19 vaccine is an important tool against the pandemic. However, no vaccine for any disease is 100% effective at preventing disease. At DHW, we track cases among Idahoans who contracted COVID-19 after being fully vaccinated (i.e. revolutionary cases). Cases of rupture are expected, but they do not mean the vaccine is ineffective.
Let’s take a look at the data. One way is to look at the total number of COVID-19 cases in Idaho in 2021 and see how many of those are groundbreaking cases. In Idaho, 142,655 cases of COVID-19 were reported in 2021, of which 13,285 were breakthrough cases. This means that 9.3% of all cases in 2021 were breakthrough cases. However, looking at the data in this way can sometimes be skewed by the number of people vaccinated versus the number of people not fully vaccinated.
A better way to look at the data is to look at the number of breakthrough cases among those who are fully vaccinated. This is a better measure as it directly tells you, if you get vaccinated, how likely it is that you will have a breakthrough case.
In Idaho, there are 826,587 people who are fully vaccinated as of October 27, 2021, of which 13,285 have had a breakthrough case. This means that 1.6% of fully vaccinated people have experienced a groundbreaking case. Or put differently, 98.4% of fully vaccinated people have not experienced a groundbreaking case. I don’t know about you, but I’ll accept those odds every day of the week.
Vaccines are safe and effective
I want to remind everyone once again that COVID-19 vaccines have been shown to be safe and effective. More than 191 million people in the United States and 826,587 in Idaho have been fully vaccinated as of October 24. 27, 2021. (Fully vaccinated includes people who have received two doses of Moderna or the Pfizer vaccine or a single dose of the Janssen vaccine.)
Vaccines are particularly effective against hospitalization and death. This means that the benefit of the COVID-19 vaccine is multi-layered. First, it greatly reduces the chances of contracting COVID-19 in the first place. But if you have a breakthrough case, it further reduces the likelihood that you’re sick enough to have to go to the hospital or die.
Let’s take a look at the data. If you are fully vaccinated and have a groundbreaking case of COVID-19, you are 5 times less likely to go to the hospital and 6 times less likely to die than someone who is not fully vaccinated.
As of May 15, Idahoans who have not been fully vaccinated represent:
- 90% of hospitalizations for COVID-19
- 92 percent of ICU stays in COVID-19
- 86 percent of deaths from COVID-19
You can get COVID-19 even if you get the vaccine. Nothing is 100% effective. However, taking precautions is still the right thing to do for your own health and the health of your family and community. In this case, getting the COVID-19 vaccine greatly reduces the chances of contracting COVID-19. Even if you get a groundbreaking case, the vaccine further reduces the chances of being hospitalized or dying.
There is another way to think about the vaccine: getting a vaccine is like wearing a seat belt. You may still be involved in a car accident, but the seat belt can protect you from serious injury.
I hope you all have a safe and healthy weekend. Please choose to get vaccinated if you have not already done so.