Breakthrough COVID-19 infections rise – but the vaccine gives strong protection, health officials say

Local News

FRESNO COUNTY, Calif. (KGPE) – Around 500 breakthrough infections have been reported in Fresno County, according to Fresno County’s Interim Health Officer Dr. Rais Vohra on Friday during the weekly COVID-19 virtual presser.

A breakthrough infection is when someone who is fully vaccinated then tests positive for COVID-19.

“What they’re really concerned about is that number has gone way up in the last month. Instead of having just one breakthrough infection here and there, they’re seeing whole families that were vaccinated, and now they’re all coming down with COVID,” Vohra said.

So far, around 499,000 people in Fresno County have been vaccinated with at least one dose, as per the latest county data.

Vohra adds that the vaccine offers strong protection against the delta variant and hospitalization due to COVID-19.

“The vast majority of people that are hospitalized are not vaccinated, so your odds are really good that once you’ve gotten your vaccine, that will really protect you even from this delta variant,” Vohra said. “It’s all the more reason for the non-vaccinated to go ahead and get their vaccine.”

The Fresno County Department of Public Health showed a graph Friday that highlights the lower vaccination rates among the younger populations.

Per the graph, just about 30% of those between the ages of 12 and 17 are vaccinated in the county. It’s at a little more than 45% for those between the ages of 18 and 24, and less than 45% for those between the ages of 25 and 29.

But, Joe Prado, the county interim assistant public health director, said they’ve seen an increase in vaccinations in the last week.

“We’ve seen some 3,000-dose days here this past week, so that’s a step in the right direction,” Prado said.

And with the growing transmission rates and COVID-19 hospitalizations, Vohra said there’s no time to wait to get the vaccine.

“Believe me when I say we are going to be very challenged throughout the month of August and you’re going to hear about a lot of strain and possibly disruptions in our healthcare system as a result of these rising case rates,” Vohra said.

As of Thursday, according to state data, 163 confirmed COVID-19 patients were hospitalized in Fresno County’s hospitals. A month ago, there were 42 patients.

Given the rising case rates, Vohra said even if people are vaccinated, putting a mask on while indoors will add another layer of protection.

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