Updated Jul 31, 2021 - Health

Chart: Less than 0.1% of vaccinated Americans tested positive for COVID-19

Outcomes of COVID-19 vaccinated Americans
Data: CDC and state Covid dashboards via NBC. Dani Alberti/Axios

Of the 164 million vaccinated Americans, around 125,000 people have tested positive for breakthrough infections and 0.001% have died, according to state data compiled from state dashboards by NBC and data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Why it matters: While "breakthrough cases" have been getting media attention, the low numbers show that the pandemic is mostly a threat for the unvaccinated population.

  • The numbers do not account for asymptomatic cases in the vaccinated or those who did not get tested. The CDC only tracks cases of those hospitalized or deaths.
  • NBC notes that the total number of breakthrough cases is likely higher since nine states did not have any information while 11 states, like Florida, did not provide death and hospitalization totals.
  • "[V]accination is the most important strategy to prevent severe illness and death," the CDC noted in a recent report.
  • Leaked CDC presentation slides showed that unpublished research indicated that the Delta variant causes more severe illness in unvaccinated people and spreads as easily as chickenpox.

By the numbers: Only 0.004% of those vaccinated that were later infected have been hospitalized from the virus and .001% have died, per the CDC.

The big picture: More than half of the entire American population are not yet fully vaccinated, CDC data shows. Nationwide, the number of cases has been increasing since around late June.

Editor's note: This story has been corrected to note that the CDC data on breakthrough cases represents those that resulted in hospitalization or death, not all breakthrough cases.

It also has been updated, and the headline has been corrected, to show that an estimated 125,000 people have tested positive for breakthrough infections, not that the number represents all infections. That number does not include asymptomatic cases in the vaccinated or those who did not get tested.

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