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New COVID-19 "breakthrough" case data reported from the PA department of health

The online report shows that since January 2021, 97% of COVID-19 related deaths were in unvaccinated or not fully vaccinated people.

LANCASTER, Pa. — A new report from The Pennsylvania Department of Health shows that COVID-19 post-vaccination cases, commonly known as “breakthrough cases,” reached over 35,000 reported cases in the past 9 months.

"Breakthrough" cases as defined by the CDC are individuals who are fully vaccinated and tested positive for COVID-19 more than 14 days after they completed their full one or two-dose vaccination series. 

The report also shows the overwhelming amount of COVID-19 cases that many hospitals are dealing with, as unvaccinated case counts climb.

“The overwhelming majority of the COVID-19 related cases, hospitalizations and deaths in Pennsylvania occurred in people who were not vaccinated,” Acting Secretary of Health Alison Beam said in a press conference today.

“In fact, the data shows that compared to unvaccinated people, fully vaccinated Pennsylvanians are seven times less likely to get COVID-19, and eight times less likely to die from COVID-19.”

Alongside Secretary Beam, Chief Clinical Officer for Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health, Dr. Michael Ripchinski spoke today as well, citing the immense pressure healthcare workers are facing.

“At Penn Medicine about 80 – 85 percent of patients admitted with COVID-19 symptoms are unvaccinated...the unvaccinated tend to be in the ICU, they require additional support for their breathing & require longer lengths of stay in the hospital," Ripchinski noted.

According to the data, which spans from Jan. 1, 2021 to Sept. 7, the Health Department found:

  • 97 percent of COVID-19-related deaths were in unvaccinated or not fully vaccinated people. Cumulative death incidence among the unvaccinated and not fully vaccinated was 7.9 times as high as the death incidence among the fully vaccinated.
  • 95 percent of reported hospitalizations with COVID-19 as the primary diagnosis/cause of admission were in unvaccinated or not fully vaccinated people. These figures account for data from 55 percent of all hospitals and 69 percent of acute care hospitals in Pennsylvania, representing approximately 80 percent of acute care beds in the state.
  • 94 percent of reported COVID-19 cases were in unvaccinated or not fully vaccinated people. Among a total of 639,729 positive cases, there have been 35,389, or 6 percent, identified post-vaccination cases. Cumulative case incidence among the unvaccinated and not fully vaccinated was 7.1 times as high as the case incidence among the fully vaccinated.

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