What you need to know about breakthrough COVID-19 cases

Local News

BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) – Almost 30% of people in Louisiana are vaccinated, but are you 100% safe from the virus? Experts say, unfortunately not.

“A breakthrough case is a positive COVID test, in someone that has been fully vaccinated,” said Interim Senior Medical Director BCBS, Dr. Larry Simon.

About one in every 1,000 fully vaccinated people will experience a breakthrough case, according to the Louisiana Department of Health.

But Simon said that the type of vaccine you receive could have an impact.

“It depends on the vaccine,” Simon said. “For example, with standard COVID and the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine, we know that those are 95 percent approximately effective. Johnson and Johnson was in the mid-upper seventies.”

The delta variant is sweeping the nation. According to Dr. Joseph Kanter, Louisiana State Health Officer, delta variants make up 59% of COVID-19 cases in the state. The new variant is what Simon is concerned about.

“The vaccines have a little bit lower efficacy against delta than they do against the others,” Simon said. “And delta is more contagious, so you put all of that into the gumbo pot and you’ve got a recipe for rising infection, be it a breakthrough or not.”

According to Simon, no vaccine is 100% effective.

“The target mark for what’s considered a successful vaccine is 50%, that’s five-zero percent efficacy,” Simon emphasized. “That degree of efficacy, if distributed across an entire population can result in a herd immunity, so breakthrough cases are nothing new.”

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