Federal Officials Reporting Thousands Of 'Breakthrough' COVID-19 Cases Among People Who Are Fully Vaccinated

A new report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that thousands of Americans, out of millions, have still contracted COVID-19 after being fully vaccinated. Joy Benedict reports.

Video Transcript

- Federal health officials are reporting a number of so-called breakthrough COVID-19 cases, and that's when fully-vaccinated people still contract the disease. The CDC says they expected this. KCAL 9's Joy Benedict explains why.

JOY BENEDICT: Vaccination sites all over the area were packed with appointments, as those wanting them flooded parking lots and clinics.

- I'm a teacher, and I need to take my vaccination.

- I can't wait to get out and be with people again.

JOY BENEDICT: But a new report by the CDC shows thousands of Americans have still contracted COVID after being fully vaccinated. Do you find it alarming?

JOSE MAYORGA: I'm not alarmed by this. Think about the millions of people that have already been vaccinated.

JOY BENEDICT: Dr. Jose Mayorga is the executive director of UCI Health family health centers.

JOSE MAYORGA: We need to understand the full picture. We need to understand if there's some patterns around this. What was the timing? Was there a variant? What was the vaccine that was used? So all this is currently being studied and evaluated by the CDC.

JOY BENEDICT: The CDC says that of the 75 million people fully vaccinated in the United States, 5,800 of them have tested positive for COVID.

JOSE MAYORGA: Out of the 5,800 that were infected after they received their vaccinations, about 7% of them were hospitalized, and unfortunately, 74 people did die due to COVID.

JOY BENEDICT: The death rate is less than 1% of those vaccinated. The majority of the positive cases were found in women over the age of 60. But the CDC and doctors say this is still the best option for preventing the spread.

JOSE MAYORGA: Not being vaccinated puts you at a higher risk of being hospitalized or even perish and die from this infection.

JOY BENEDICT: And those lining up for their turn today say they still want it.

- I still say that it's better to be safe because you never know.

- I think it's better than nothing. It's a lot better than nothing.

JOY BENEDICT: The CDC says it's not unusual for people who have been vaccinated to have what's called breakthrough cases in other viruses as well. That's why they say it's important for anyone, whether vaccinated or not, to continue to follow procedures like washing your hands, wearing a face covering, and avoiding crowds. From San Fernando, I'm Joy Benedict, KCAL 9 News.