Oregon Health Authority (OHA) has identified 168 COVID-19 vaccine breakthrough cases—when vaccinated individuals test positive for the virus — through April 2, including three deaths.

OHA public health officials said the incidents are a reminder that while the Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines are all highly effective at preventing severe COVID-19 illness and death, no vaccine is 100% effective, and vaccine breakthrough cases will occur.

Health Care Regions

Vaccine breakthrough cases can be prevented by basic public health interventions, such as masking, physical distancing and avoiding social gatherings, according to the OHA.

These cases have been reported in 25 counties and all health care preparedness regions (Region 1: 76; Region 2: 29; Region 3: 27; Region 5: 9; Region 6: 4; Region 7: 17; Region 9: 6). OHA is not reporting the regions in which the deaths took place.

Vaccine breakthrough cases are defined as instances in which an individual received a positive COVID-19 test result at least 14 days after the final dose of any COVID-19 vaccine series. Vaccine breakthrough cases can be prevented by basic public health interventions, such as masking, physical distancing and avoiding social gatherings.

The number of vaccine breakthrough cases identified in Oregon represents a very small proportion of the more than 700,000 people in Oregon who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, according to the OHA.

Many of the vaccine breakthrough cases identified experienced asymptomatic infection and were tested for other reasons. Eleven percent (n=19) of the vaccine breakthrough cases were hospitalized within the 30 days following their positive test, and most occurred in people older than 65 or with underlying health conditions.

The three deaths represent fewer than 2% of the vaccine breakthrough cases, and none of the vaccine breakthrough cases were associated with a COVID-19 variant.

State and local epidemiologists are continuing to track and investigate vaccine breakthrough cases and are working closely with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to collect information that may provide insight into characteristics associated with vaccine breakthrough.

New COVID-19 cases

The OHA reported five new COVID-19 related deaths in Oregon, raising the state’s death toll to 2,439, as of Thursday, April 8. The OHA also reported 678 new confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19, including 10 in Columbia County, bringing the state total to 168,795.

Vaccinations in Oregon

OHA reported that 50,429 new doses of COVID-19 vaccinations were added to the state immunization registry. Of this total, 27,783 doses were administered on April 7 and 22,646 were administered on previous days but were entered into the vaccine registry on April 7.

The 50,429 doses submitted to the state’s immunization tracking system on April 7 was the highest number of COVID-19 vaccine doses entered into the database on a single day since the COVID-19 vaccines began to be administered in Oregon. The 7-day running average is now 34,733 doses per day.

As of today, 824,299 people have completed a COVID-19 vaccine series. There are 522,780 people who have had at least one dose.

Oregon has now administered a total of 1,083,978 doses of Pfizer, 971,012 doses of Moderna and 61,539 doses of Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines.

Cumulative daily totals can take several days to finalize because providers have 72 hours to report doses administered and technical challenges have caused many providers to lag in their reporting. OHA has been providing technical support to vaccination sites to improve the timeliness of their data entry into the state’s ALERT Immunization Information System (IIS).

To date, 1,340,235 doses of Pfizer, 1,212,800 doses of Moderna and 185,500 doses of Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines have been delivered to sites across Oregon.

These data are preliminary and subject to change, according to the OHA.

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