Apr 22, 2021 - Health

CDC: Handful of "breakthrough" COVID cases occurred in nursing homes

Illustrated collage of a healthcare worker and a senior citizen.

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Although it's extremely rare for vaccinated people to contract the coronavirus, two new reports illustrate why it's important to get vaccinated, even if the high-risk people around you already have been.

Driving the news: An unvaccinated worker at a Kentucky nursing home caused "breakthrough" infections among vaccinated staff and residents, according to a CDC analysis.

  • 18 residents who had been fully vaccinated with the Pfizer vaccine were infected in the outbreak. Six became symptomatic. two were hospitalized and one died.
  • That means the Pfizer vaccine ended up being roughly 66% effective at preventing infection and 94% effective at preventing hospitalization and death.
  • In a separate analysis, the Chicago health department also identified 22 breakthrough COVID cases among 627 fully vaccinated nursing home residents and staff, including one death.

The big picture: As of April 13, the CDC had tracked just 5,814 reports of "breakthrough" infections, out of 75 million fully vaccinated Americans.

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