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Washington confirms 'breakthrough' COVID-19 cases after vaccination

Of the potential 102 cases of patients who tested positive for COVID-19 after vaccination, two died, the state said. But the majority had mild or no symptoms.

The state is investigating 102 potential cases of people becoming ill with COVID-19 more than two weeks after being fully vaccinated, the Washington State Department of Health reported Tuesday.

According to the state, the majority of those in Washington with confirmed vaccine breakthrough experienced only mild symptoms or no symptoms. However, eight people were hospitalized with COVID-19, and the state is investigating two "potential" breakthrough cases where patients died.

Both of those patients were more than 80 years old and suffered underlying health issues, according to the state.

The state said that the breakthrough cases are 0.01% of the 1.2 million fully vaccinated people in Washington state, which health officials say falls within the results of the clinical studies of the vaccines.

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.

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“It is important to remember that every vaccine on the market right now prevents severe disease and death in most cases,” Dr. Umair A. Shah, MD, MPH, the state's Secretary of Health, said in a prepared statement. “People should still get vaccinated as soon as they are eligible, and encourage friends, loved ones, and co-workers to do the same.”

Breakthrough cases have been identified in 18 counties. The state is also looking into whether virus variants may have caused the infections.

The state will add data on breakthrough cases to its COVID-19 dashboard by late April, officials said.

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