3 Hawaii residents fully vaccinated against COVID-19 are infected with the coronavirus


A vaccine that is 95% effective will protect 95 out of 100 people, meaning 5% may still contract the virus if exposed

At least three people fully vaccinated against COVID-19 in Hawaii were later infected with the virus. The Department of Health calls it break through cases. 

Doctors KITV4 spoke with said they’re not surprised and people should not be alarmed. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, current vaccines are between 66 and 95 percent effective. Physicians say the vaccine doesn’t prevent infection but it does lower the risk hospitalization and severe symptoms.

One break through case involved a healthcare worker who visited multiple cities in the U.S. then tested positive after returning to Oahu. Dr. Melinda Ashton, Chief Quality Officer with Hawaii Pacific Health says that’s an example of why traveling may increase risk of infection.

“Absolutely you need to be careful during those times when you’re in the airport, on the airplane, with other people in larger groups,” Ashton said.

Only five people across the state are currently in an ICU bed with the coronavirus. At its peak last September, it was as high as 65. Dr. Julius Pham, chair of the COVID-19 committee at Queen’s Medical Center, believes it’s a clear sign vaccines offer protection against hospitalization. 

“We haven’t seen those type of numbers since early early in the pandemic,” Pham said. “We’re still having about 50-60 cases per day in the state but our hospitalization numbers are down more than the rate of infection in the state.”

A common question still being asked about the vaccines? Are people diagnosed with COVID-19 after vaccination, more or less infectious. 

“Overtime, as more people get vaccinated, we have more time under our belt with this vaccine, we have a better idea of how long the protection lasts,” Dr. Michael Walter, Kalihi-Palama Health Center, said. 

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