Health leaders expect ‘breakthrough cases’ in fight against COVID

Coronavirus

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) — While the state pushes to get more people vaccinated, health experts are starting to see some shortfalls from the COVID-19 shot.

“No vaccine is perfect, no vaccine is going to prevent all disease,” said Vice President of Medical Affairs for CarolinaEast Medical Center Dr. Ronald May.

While COVID shots are still the best defense against the virus, some people are still getting infected.

“We use the term breakthrough case in order to designate people that have already been vaccinated,” said Beaufort County Health Director James Madson. “After complete vaccination, they come up positive for COVID later on.”

These breakthrough cases aren’t common. Both the Beaufort County Health Department and CarolinaEast Medical Center have only seen one.

“The key is to prevent serious disease and serious side effects, and all three of those vaccines are very effective for that,” said May.

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services is keeping an eye on breakthrough cases. Between May 6- July 11, the state saw 2,327 new cases. That makes up 5.6% of total cases during that time period.

“The good news is this illustrates even more that vaccines are working because almost across the board, the people who become infected who are vaccinated are less seriously ill and there’s less of a chance of them going into the hospital,” said Gov. Roy Cooper.

With the more contagious Delta variant making up almost 80% of cases in North Carolina, health leaders say no one should let their guard down.

“I think it’s important for people to realize it’s not over, they need to be vigilant, they need to be careful for themselves, for their family, their friends,” said May.

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