New data on breakthrough COVID-19 cases across Philadelphia region

Data shows that 95% of hospitalizations and 94% of Covid cases are among the unvaccinated, according to the Pa. Health Dept.
PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Pennsylvania residents who are unvaccinated against the coronavirus were far more likely to contract COVID-19, become hospitalized and die than those who got the shot, health officials said Tuesday in the first public release of data on so-called "breakthrough" infections in the state.

Health officials recognize as the number of people vaccinated goes up, we will start to see more breakthrough cases.

Alison Beam, Pennsylvania's acting secretary of health, says no vaccine is 100% effective but the goal is to prevent severe disease, hospitalization and death.

Between January to September in Pennsylvania, 6,472 people died due to COVID-19. Out of them, 213 were fully vaccinated. That means 97% of people who died due to the virus were unvaccinated or only partially vaccinated. The data also showed that 95% of hospitalizations and 94% of COVID cases are among the unvaccinated.

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Pediatric COVID cases are reaching alarming heights as experts are torn over whether or not a booster shot is necessary.



"My hope is that this data encourages everyone who has not been vaccinated to speak to their doctor about getting the vaccine as soon as possible," Beam said.

Tuesday's news conference was held in Lancaster County where they're seeing an increase in hospitalizations due to low vaccination rates. Under 50% of the population in the county is fully vaccinated.

For members of the Philadelphia Black Doctors COVID-19 Consortium and CEO Dr. Ala Stanford, it was the data they needed to bolster their vaccination efforts.

"The data supports the vaccine is protective for you, it's protective for your family, for those you love and most importantly right now, our kids that need to be in school," said Stanford.

On Monday, the State of New Jersey released similar data that the vast majority of cases and hospitalizations are among those not fully vaccinated.



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And in Delaware, of almost 507,000 fully vaccinated residents, there have been only 2,307 cases among those vaccinated or roughly five-tenths of 1%.

"Most of these cases and hospitalizations are individuals who are not vaccinated, so we know that it's being spread readily among people who are not vaccinated," said Dr. Karyl Rattay, Delaware's Director of the Department of Health.

Dr. Ala Stanford says the reality is that children under the age of 12 who are back in school do not yet qualify for vaccines, and therefore are not protected.

"And the best thing that we can do to protect them as adults as children 12 and up is to get vaccinated. That's why some of our schools are closed up already and it hasn't even been a month," said Stanford.

Pennsylvania will continue tracking breakthrough cases and update the numbers. This will also determine if and when people may need a COVID booster shot.

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