UCSD Doctor Talks Breakthrough COVID-19 Cases, Says Vaccine is Still Best Protection

The data show what health experts have said all along -- the vaccines are effective, even if you do contract COVID-19

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New data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention support what health experts have been saying to the public for months -- the COVID-19 vaccine works despite "breakthrough cases."

The CDC identifies breakthrough cases as COVID-19 cases from those who have already been vaccinated against the virus. The center makes it clear that while the vaccine helps prevent serious side effects if one contracts the coronavirus and better protects the public from the virus overall, it, like many other vaccines, cannot completely guarantee that individuals will not get sick.

"However, no vaccines are 100% effective at preventing illness in vaccinated people," the CDC said on its website. "There will be a small percentage of fully vaccinated people who still get sick, are hospitalized, or die from COVID-19."

So far, the data states that 99.99% of fully vaccinated individuals have not had a breakthrough case resulting in hospitalization.

University of California, San Diego infectious disease physician, Dr. Shira Abeles, said that at UCSD Health, about one-third of COVID-19 cases have been among those who have been vaccinated. Although those patients displayed symptoms, no one was showed signs of dangerous side effects and no hospitalizations occurred.

The County of San Diego is urging residents to get their COVID-19 vaccine amid a significant increase in virus cases. NBC 7’s Artie Ojeda speaks with locals on the matter.

“We are still seeing protection, but for lack of a better term, it is not bulletproof,” said Dr. Abeles.  

She recommends people, even those who have been vaccinated, wear masks, social distance, and avoid crowded places. Besides the unvaccinated, she said, there are people without robust immune systems who may not have maximum protection and children under 12 who have not yet had the opportunity to get the vaccine.

“Vaccinated people who can get COVID-19 can transmit the disease, so putting on a mask is kindness to others, and protecting other people, just in case," Dr. Abeles said.

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