Small Number Of People Still Contracting COVID-19 Despite Full Vaccination

Six million COVID-19 vaccine doses have been given in Illinois, but a small group of people have still contracted COVID-19 despite being fully vaccinated.

Video Transcript

- Six million vaccine doses have been given out in Illinois, but a small group of people have still contracted COVID-19 despite being fully vaccinated. They're called "breakthrough cases." CBS 2's Marisa Parra dug into the facts behind them.

MARISSA PARRA: Illinois is reporting roughly 400 of those breakthrough cases. That is less than 0.02% of those fully vaccinated. Six Illinoisans have died from COVID since getting fully vaccinated. But for some perspective, there was a day in December where 238 Illinoisans died from COVID in one day.

Millions have rolled up their arms for a shot against COVID-19, but in some cases, COVID-19 still found a way.

ALLISON ARWADY: We've had fewer than 100 cases. But we have had cases here in Chicago of people who have been fully vaccinated. And nobody's needed to be hospitalized, nobody's died.

MARISSA PARRA: That's in Chicago. The stats for Illinois, a much larger sample size, look a little different.


From the very first Illinois COVID vaccination on December 15 until March 31, the state says 2.2 million Illinoisans have received their final shots. Of those, 399 still tested positive for the virus. Of those 17 were hospitalized from COVID, six died.

But health experts say it's important to keep context.

SHARON WELBEL: When we compare these numbers to people who are unvaccinated, we have an incredibly decreased rate of one, infection; two, hospitalization; and three, death.

MARISSA PARRA: Between the three vaccines, effectiveness at preventing COVID ranges from 95% with Pfizer and 85% with Johnson & Johnson.

ALLISON ARWADY: Even a vaccine is 90, 95% protective. It's not 100% protective.

MARISSA PARRA: Cook County's top epidemiologist, Dr. Sharon Welbel, says it's a reminder that the vaccine isn't foolproof. And breakthrough numbers like these are exactly why many health experts are saying even if you are vaccinated, keep the masks on and social distance for the time being.

SHARON WELBEL: I hope that people understand that the risk of getting COVID and dying from COVID is significantly greater at this point than getting vaccinated.

MARISSA PARRA: Marissa Parra, CBS 2 News.

- Illinois is certainly not alone. Breakthrough cases have also been reported in Minnesota, Florida, and Washington State.