Robert Fox Vaccine

Robert Fox, a graduate student at Eastern Oregon University, prepares to receive his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic Tuesday, May 4, 2021.

SALEM — Officials reported Thursday, June 3, that about 2% of the people diagnosed with COVID-19 in Oregon in May were completely vaccinated — meaning an overwhelming 98% of those sickened by the coronavirus either were unvaccinated or were only partially vaccinated.

A total of 398 Oregonians who’d received their full recommended courses of vaccines were infected with the virus from May 3 to May 31, the Oregon Health Authority announced in its monthly report. Officials identified them as “breakthrough cases.” Twelve of them died, according to rough numbers provided by the state.

That compares to about 15,700 Oregonians who were unvaccinated or partially vaccinated when they were infected in May. Approximately 115 of them died, according to rough figures provided by the state.

Officials say about 91% of people who’ve died in Oregon from COVID-19 weren’t vaccinated or were partially vaccinated. Although the vaccines aren’t 100% effective even in fully vaccinated individuals, officials say they are highly successful at preventing infection and dramatically decreasing the chances of hospitalization or death.

In all, officials have identified 1,009 breakthrough cases and 20 deaths among these Oregonians since the state started tracking this data in February.

The average age of a person who was infected after completing the recommended doses of vaccine was 51. The average age of those who died was 75, officials said.

But Oregon officials caution that some of the people counted as breakthrough cases were counted as such even though enough time hadn’t passed for the vaccines to reach their maximum effectiveness.

People aren’t considered fully vaccinated until at least 14 days have passed since finishing their one-dose of Johnson & Johnson vaccine or two-dose courses of Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. Yet the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has defined a “breakthrough case” as someone who tests positive after 14 or more days have passed since receiving the Johnson & Johnson vaccine or receiving their second shots of Pfizer or Moderna vaccines.

That means a person could have been exposed and infected before the vaccines had time to provide maximum protection.

Copyright 2021 Tribune Content Agency.

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