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Washington state reports 'vaccine breakthrough,' hundreds get COVID weeks after being vaccinated

A 'vaccine breakthrough' occurs when some who are fully vaccinated still contract the virus, which has happened to over 100 people in Washington state.

Published: March 31, 2021 1:05pm

Updated: April 1, 2021 2:25pm

The state of Washington is investigating what officials are calling a "vaccine breakthrough," after roughly 100 cases of people testing positive for the virus about two weeks after being vaccinated.

Epidemiologists report evidence of 102 breakthrough cases in 18 Washington counties, among millions of vaccinated residents. Two patients who received the vaccination died after becoming infected with the virus.

"DOH is investigating two potential vaccine breakthrough cases where the patients died. Both patients were more than 80 years old and suffered underlying health issues," officials said in a news release.

The health department also said the majority of those vaccinated who tested positive experienced mild symptoms, but at least eight have been hospitalized.

"It is important to remember that every vaccine on the market right now prevents severe disease and death in most cases," said Dr. Umair A. Shah, the states's health secretary. "Finding evidence of vaccine breakthrough cases reminds us that, even if you have been vaccinated, you still need to wear a mask, practice socially distancing, and wash your hands to prevent spreading COVID-19 to others who have not been vaccinated."

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