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More breakthrough COVID-19 cases reported among vaccinated people in Washington

State officials report 217 fully vaccinated Washingtonians have tested positive for COVID-19 as of April 3. That's about 0.01% of fully vaccinated people.

SEATTLE — The Washington State Department of Health (DOH) has identified more than 100 additional breakthrough COVID-19 cases among fully vaccinated people.

A breakthrough case is when a person tests positive for COVID-19 at least two weeks after their final dose of the vaccine.

As of April 3, there were 217 breakthrough cases reported in Washington, according to DOH. This is more than double the number of breakthrough cases DOH reported two weeks ago when the state said it had seen 102 breakthrough cases through March 30.

DOH is investigating three additional suspected deaths related to breakthrough cases. A total of five people are suspected to have died after contracting COVID-19 after being fully vaccinated, most of whom the department said are between 67 and 94 years old and had multiple underlying health conditions. Four were long-term care residents.

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Most breakthrough cases in Washington reported mild or no symptoms, according to DOH. However, among the cases where hospitalization data was available, 12% of patients were hospitalized. DOH said it is still gathering information from about half of the cases.

Since DOH first reported breakthrough cases last month, the agency says the median age of the cases has shifted younger with more people in the 40- to 59-year-old range becoming infected after vaccination. 

The Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines reduced the risk of getting COVID-19 in vaccinated people by up to 95%, according to the studies. However, the vaccines are not 100% effective, and DOH said a small number of vaccinated people could still get sick.

As of April 10, about 22% of Washingtonians, or roughly 1.7 million people, were fully vaccinated for COVID-19, according to DOH data. That means the breakthrough cases represent about 0.01% of vaccinated people in Washington.

Breakthrough cases were reported in 24 Washington counties.