Alaska's rare COVID breakthrough cases are far less worrisome than stalled vaccination rate, experts say

State officials have released a new report of hundreds of cases of COVID-19 in vaccinated people. But those numbers represent a tiny fraction of the 15,000 cases in the similarly-sized unvaccinated population.

7/24/2021 11:42:00 PM

Vaccinated Alaskans are reporting 1/25th the COVID-19 cases of the unvaccinated. That reinforces that convincing more people to get their shots is much more critical than worrying about breakthrough cases. AKpublicnews

State officials have released a new report of hundreds of cases of COVID-19 in vaccinated people. But those numbers represent a tiny fraction of the 15,000 cases in the similarly-sized unvaccinated population.

for vaccinated people to spread the virus even if they test positive.Those are all reasons Alaska public health experts say for the vast majority of residents, the benefits of vaccination far outweigh the risks.They say the vaccines were never advertised as being 100% effective — Pfizer’s shots were said to be 95% effective, Moderna’s 94% and Johnson & Johnson’s 66%. And they say their new report on breakthrough cases shows that they’re not happening at a rate that’s surprising or worrisome.

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Alaska state epidemiologist Joe McLaughlin.“The vaccine effectiveness is exceptionally high. But it’s not perfect,” said Dr. Joe McLaughlin, Alaska’s top epidemiologist.Officials say it’s imperative Alaskans digest the new report on vaccine breakthrough cases with the context of case, hospitalization and death rates among unvaccinated people.

While Alaska’s vaccinated population is nearly the same size as the unvaccinated population — 43% of residents are fully vaccinated — COVID-19 cases are happening far more often among people who haven’t gotten the shots.[Sign up for Alaska Public Media’s daily newsletter to get our top stories delivered to your inbox.]

The new bulletin documents 656 cases of COVID-19 in fully vaccinated people between February and June, which included 17 people who were hospitalized and two who died — though those two people had “substantial” pre-existing conditions, the report said. The report also noted that of those 656 cases, 38% were in people with no symptoms, who could have been tested for work or travel.

Over the same period, the state recorded 14,906 cases among unvaccinated people, along with 391 hospitalizations and 58 deaths.The 656 breakthrough cases of COVID-19 represent 0.2% of the 300,000 Alaskans who were vaccinated during the period covered by the report. But that tiny fraction of cases may be looming larger in the minds of Alaskans because of the way vaccine breakthroughs can often be announced on social media or elsewhere, according to Jennifer Meyer, an assistant professor of health science at University of Alaska Anchorage.

“It’s kind of an illusion that’s created that somehow these breakthrough cases are common, when they’re not,” said Meyer,who’s worked on public health communication efforts during the pandemic.Officials say they’re continuing to stress the importance of vaccinations as fewer Alaskans have been getting the shots.

Early in the country’s vaccination campaign, Alaska had one of the top rates among the 50 states. But it’s now fallen into the bottom half, with vaccination rates for eligible residents still sitting below 50% in several pockets of the state — including Fairbanks, the Mat-Su, and the Kenai Peninsula Borough.

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Recently, about 325 residents have been getting vaccinated each day, state officials say, compared to as many as 10,000 early in the vaccination campaign. At that pace, it could take years to vaccinate the rest of Alaska’s eligible population.Alaskans involved with the vaccination effort say demand hasn’t fallen off completely, even in areas where enthusiasm has been tepid. In the Mat-Su, there’s still a “steady stream” of people getting the shots, said Rene Dillow, a public health nurse there.

And on the Kenai Peninsula, “we’re chipping away at it,” said Justin Ruffridge, a pharmacist running a clinic in Soldotna dispensing some 10 vaccines a day.“I really, legitimately thought our walk-in clinic would be a boring operation for the folks running it,” he said. “But it really has not been — they consistently are doing shots every day.”

But McLaughlin, the epidemiologist, said the state’s vaccination progress has “really plateaued.” Officials would like to see the numbers much higher, particularly as the delta variant gets a strong foothold in Alaska, he added. Read more: NPR »


AKpublicnews 'about 4% — of the number of cases among unvaccinated people' AKpublicnews Now ask hospitals if they are testing vaccinated people for Covid AKpublicnews Stick around to see your kids grow up. GetVaccinatedNow AKpublicnews LIES AKpublicnews It should show people how much the vaccines are helping but instead the CDC is hiding breakthrough case numbers making people distrust the CDC and the vaccines even more

AKpublicnews Facts over fiction!! No Worries, if your vaccine and your mask works and you do not have covid, and the un-vaxed doesn't have covid then no one is endangering anyone!!! AKpublicnews I'm sure it also has nothing to do with population density either right?

China reports 35 new COVID-19 cases on July 23 vs 48 a day earlierChina reported 35 new COVID-19 cases in the mainland on July 23, down from 48 cases a day earlier, the country's national health authority said on Saturday. nice Legit... Source: just trust me bro

Make Smart Summer-Travel Decisions as Delta Variant Covid-19 Cases RiseYou booked a summer vacation, and now you’re getting nervous about Delta. Here’s what to know about changing or postponing your plans. Florida is the second in the U.S. for Covid-19 and the Delta variant is thriving, as well. Meanwhile, DeathSantis sells his anti-Fauci gear, and would happily step over dead bodies for a dollar for a tourist dollar. I really don't know how to express my gratitude to Mr james_bradleyfx this is really amazing I'm counting racks S like never before made $10k all thanks to james_bradleyfx this is terrible news

COVID-19 Map: Tracking Cases and Vaccinations in the U.S.'It's time to start blaming the unvaccinated folks.' Pressed on low vaccination rates in her state, Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey made a forceful rebuke of people who choose not to get vaccinated: 'These folks are choosing a... lifestyle of self-inflicted pain.' My body my choice. It’s time to blame right wing media Kay!

Should vaccinated people mask up with COVID-19 cases rising?Should vaccinated people mask up with COVID-19 cases rising? It depends on your situation, but masking in public can provide another layer of protection and help prevent the virus from spreading to others who aren't protected. The rush to reopen occured because businesses wanted to capitalize on Memorial Day and July 4th. Biden's reopening speech will age like Bush's 'mission accomplished' speech. I've never stopped. I've lived here long enough to know better. Covid cases are rising, if they actually are that is,for one reason only, because of the audits finding so much fraud. They are starting to release it all over to stop the new audits preparing to begin. just like they did to stop trumps economy. Yes, it was Dems and FBI.

3 States Responsible For 40% Of New COVID-19 CasesThe governor of Alabama, which is also seeing a sharp rise in cases, said “it’s time to start blaming the unvaccinated folks.' blame them for what exactly? vaxxed people still get infected and still transmit the virus. Just like unvaxxed do. only difference is severity of symptoms. So this comment makes no sense. Stop shaking and blaming. Or maybe blaming the Gov. of Alabama? Dah!

St. Louis requires masks for everyone amid rising Covid-19 casesBoth the city and county of St. Louis will require masks to be worn by the vaccinated and unvaccinated alike in indoor public places starting Monday, the mayor's office said. genesimmons That's good I think they took the mask away to soon. I don't know about the Kansas side, but I do know the Missouri side owns this bullshit. This won't stop til the next election, buckle up!