Data for Clark County and the state show that COVID-19 vaccines are extremely effective at preventing COVID-19 infections as well as hospitalizations and deaths.
That might not come as a surprise to anyone who’s paid attention to the vetting process for the vaccines, but so-called “breakthrough” case data for the county and state confirm the high efficacy rates that national and area health officials have touted since the vaccines were introduced late last year.
According to county and state data, vaccine breakthrough is extremely rare. Vaccine breakthrough is defined as a COVID-19 infection that occurs in someone two weeks out from their final vaccine dose.
According to county data from May 25, only about 0.07 percent of fully vaccinated Clark County residents have contracted COVID-19.
That data shows 124 breakthrough cases out of 178,500 fully vaccinated people. Out of those 124 breakthrough cases, 67 percent, or 83 cases, were symptomatic. Ten percent, or 12 cases, were hospitalized, and two people died.
“No vaccine is 100 percent effective,” said Clark County Public Health Officer Dr. Alan Melnick. “But those numbers demonstrate how effective the vaccines are.”
According to state data from May 22, there are 1,471 breakthrough cases out of more than 3.1 million people fully vaccinated. Melnick said that roughly 4 out of every 10,000 fully vaccinated people in Washington still contract COVID-19.
Out of the state’s breakthrough cases, 75 percent, or 861 cases, had symptoms and 9 percent, or 96 cases, were hospitalized.
Twenty-three of those breakthrough cases have died, according to state Department of Health data.
The median age range of those who died in Washington is 84 years old, and 17 of those who died had one or more underlying health conditions — information was not available for the other six who died.
Melnick said he understands that people might be hesitant or concerned about getting vaccinated, but said the numbers show the vaccines’ effectiveness.
He supports incentives to try to increase vaccine uptake, but said the biggest incentive to get vaccinated should be saving lives.
Department of Health data posted on Clark County Public Health’s Facebook page also shows that the hospital admission rate for COVID-19 in unvaccinated people ages 45 to 64 is about 18 times higher than people of the same age who are fully vaccinated.
For people ages 65 and older, the hospital admission rate is close to 11 times higher among people who are unvaccinated than those who are fully protected.
“This solidifies everything we know about the vaccine because of the clinical trials,” Melnick said. “We should be expecting these numbers.”