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Over 21,700 breakthrough COVID-19 cases reported in Washington

The latest data on breakthrough cases shows about 21,700 of the more than 4.2 million fully vaccinated Washingtonians have tested positive for COVID-19.

SEATTLE — The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases among those fully vaccinated in Washington remains incredibly low, according to the latest data on breakthrough cases.

The Washington State Department of Health (DOH) released the new report on breakthrough cases Wednesday, Sept. 1, using a new method of data collection.

The new method, which is possible through federal partnerships, identifies breakthrough cases by matching Immunization Information Systems data with new positive COVID-19 tests.

The first report using this new method revealed, so far in state, there have been 21,757 COVID-19 cases identified among the 4,208,851 Washingtonians who are fully vaccinated, equivalent to about 0.5%.

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To be considered fully vaccinated at least two weeks must have passed receiving the second dose of an mRNA vaccine or one dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Acting Chief Science Officer Dr. Scott Lindquist discussed the new method of collecting data during a Thursday DOH briefing.

“[The report] shows that our breakthrough cases still remain in the area that we expect them. We expect to have around 1% or less of all vaccinated folks to have breakthrough,” he said.

Of the 21,757 breakthrough cases, 86% reported symptoms but only 9% were hospitalized.

About 16,400 of those cases were among those 20-64 years old.

According to the available data, deaths among those who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 remain low, too. The report showed that 185 fully vaccinated people died, with at least 85 of them having one or more underlying conditions.

Just 0.0043% of fully vaccinated Washingtonians have died from the virus.

These breakthroughs have been associated with all three currently authorized COVID-19 vaccines, and the DOH doesn’t report breakthrough cases by brand since the state has administered more of some brands than others.

Despite the effectiveness of the vaccine, COVID-19 cases have continued to rise in the state, along with the entire country, due to the highly transmissible delta variant and those who are still unvaccinated.

More than 73% of the state’s eligible population has initiated vaccination, but officials now say that the latest math shows that at least 85% of the state’s total population needs to be fully vaccinated to beat the virus.

Lindquist said Thursday that the delta variant now accounts for more than 98% of the state’s positive cases.

“It is very fascinating to me that this variant is so out-competing the other variants that it’ll be interesting to see if we get any new variants over time,” said Lindquist, who continued to advocate for the vaccine, which officials say remains the most effective tool against the virus.