by Frank Butler, Orlando Advocate
According to ABC News affiliate abc7 in Chicago, Illinois public health officials began releasing data Wednesday on what it calls “breakthrough” COVID-19 cases, where fully-vaccinated people still get the virus– and sometimes die.
According to the data, more than two weeks after his second vaccine dose, 75-year-old Alan Sporn told friends he felt like he had been set free from worry about the coronavirus. Two weeks is the stated time for becoming “fully vaccinated” from the coronavirus.
Thinking it was safe to do so, he went out with friends to celebrate. But just a few days later, one of the friends at the celebration tested positive for COVID-19, and so did Sporn. Two weeks later– or one month after receiving his second shot– Sporn was dead from Covid-19.
When Covid-19 shows up after the 14th day of being fully vaccinated, the virus is said to have “broken through” the vaccine’s protection. This “breakthrough” infection happens rarely and most cases are mild or asymptomatic. In Illinois at least 97 fully-vaccinated people have been hospitalized and 32 have died.
Put in perspective, out of nearly 4 million people fully vaccinated, less than 1/100th of 1% will experience this breakthrough infection.
“When people hear these numbers, they have to recognize that no vaccine is perfect, but this vaccine is still very, very, very good,” said Dr. Stephen Schrantz, Infectious Disease Specialist, Univ. Of Chicago Medicine.
People with compromised immune systems are most at risk for breakthrough infection. According to his relatives, Sporn had chronic lymphocytic leukemia and before his death, a test showed he had little or no COVID antibodies.
There is reportedly a test that will detect the presence or lack of Covid antibodies. People being vaccinated might want to ask about it.
If there is anything to be learned from this and other examples of death after vaccination it is that the Covid-19 vaccines do not guarantee no future infection. So we should continue indoor mask wearing, distancing and hand sanitizing for maximum protection.