Early Statistics of Breakthrough COVID-19 Infections
Updated: Jan 12, 2022
Words & Video by Rob Swanda
Without a doubt, we have heard many numbers related to COVID-19 lately. Hospitalizations. Cases. And unfortunately, a lot of death.
More recently, we have been hearing about breakthrough cases, which are those individuals who are fully vaccinated but still find themselves with a positive COVID-19 diagnosis. This can occur when an individual is exposed to a large amount of viral load and/or when the individual does not have a large amount of antibody production against the pathogen they have come in contact with.
There is no vaccine that is known to be 100% effective against COVID-19. So breakthrough cases are not only predictable, but they were foreseen.
In clinical trials, the mRNA vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna showed 95% and 94.1% efficacy respectively, while the viral vector vaccine from Johnson & Johnson showed 72% efficacy. It has been more than seven months now since the US’ nationwide COVID-19 vaccine program began utilizing shots from these three companies.
On 26 July 2021, the CDC released data outlining reported breakthrough hospitalizations and deaths among fully vaccinated people. Between 14 Dec 2020 and 26 Jul 2021, a total 163,173,366 people were vaccinated. When grouping those 163 million people to the type of vaccine they were administered the overall expected efficacy calculates to 92.8% protection. Based on statistics, this would mean around 11.7 million of the newly vaccinated population may potentially experience a COVID-19 breakthrough.
So far, outside the clinical trials, that level of breakthrough in the vaccinated population has not been seen.
The CDC has reported 6,239 people as hospitalized with COVID-19 despite being vaccinated, and 1,263 of them have died. While some of those hospitalizations and deaths were not directly related to the COVID-19 diagnosis, they all were vaccinated and met the classification of having a breakthrough case.
In the US, between vaccine approval and the 26 July dated CDC report, more than 17.2 million unvaccinated people were diagnosed with COVID-19. Of those, 1.5 million required hospital admission and 303,861 died. What we can therefore ascertain is that with a total 6,239 reported breakthrough cases in the vaccinated group; more than 163 million vaccinated people did not record a breakthrough infection under the CDC's reporting and classification.
For each COVID-19 related metric: diagnosed cases, hospital admissions and deaths, the unvaccinated population account for more than 99% of each, while the vaccinated account for less than 1% of each.
Over the 30 days prior to vaccine approval, on average more than 13,000 people were hospitalized each day with COVID-19 in the United States. Fast forward to the month of July 2021 where the US was 50% fully vaccinated and the rate of hospitalization had reduced by more than two thirds to an average daily admissions of around 4,000 people.
But, this is not an isolated phenomenon. In the United Kingdom, over the 30 days prior to reaching 10% of the population with a first vaccine dose, more than 3,600 people on average were being admitted to the hospital daily. This reduced sharply after 30% of second doses were in arms to an average of less than 200 people per day. Both the USA and UK reached peak hospital admissions for COVID-19 between the delivery of the first vaccination and the days to reaching 10% first vaccine doses. Each country then saw the same steep downward trend in cases, hospital admissions and deaths as the vaccine uptake rose.
The data clearly advocates that the vaccines are so far providing remarkable levels of protection beyond expectations. It makes plain that since vaccinations became available in the US, it is the unvaccinated who make-up 99% of all diagnoses, hospital admissions and deaths. And, just like a puzzle, the vaccine is not the only piece. Other factors are at play that help protect communities such as masking and social distancing, which work to keep infections low. While, on the contrary, mutated versions of the virus (such as the Delta or Lambda variants) attempt to increase the number of SARS-CoV-2 infections.
We are now seeing a new wave of the virus take hold across the world, and while the best time to be fully vaccinated was months ago, the second best time is now. Arrange to be vaccinated today or consult an expert scientist or medical professional if you have questions or hesitancy.
Explanation of COVID-19 Breakthrough Case Statistics
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2021, 07 26). COVID Data Tracker.
Retrieved from CDC: https://covid.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/#vaccinations
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2021, 07 26). COVID-19 Vaccinations in the United States,Jurisdiction.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2021, 07 26). COVID-19 Vaccine Breakthrough Case Investigation and Reporting.
# Retrieved from CDC: https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/covid-19/health-departments/breakthrough-cases.html
HealthData.gov. (2021, 07 26). COVID-19 Reported Patient Impact and Hospital Capacity by State Timeseries.
Retrieved from healthdata.gov: https://healthdata.gov/Hospital/COVID-19-Reported-Patient-Impact-and-Hospital-Capa/g62h-syeh/data
Katella, K. (2021, 02 24). Comparing the COVID-19 Vaccines: How Are They Different?
Retrieved from Yale Medicine: https://www.yalemedicine.org/news/covid-19-vaccine-comparison
UK Government. (2021, 07 26). GOV.UK Coronavirus (COVID-19) in the UK.
Retrieved from Patients admitted to hospital: https://coronavirus.data.gov.uk/details/healthcare
BBC News. (2020, 12 14). Covid-19: First vaccine given in US as roll-out begins.
Retrieved from BBC News: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-55305720
Our World in Data. (2021, 07 26). Statistics and Research Coronavirus (COVID-19) Vaccinations.
Retrieved from Our World in Data: https://ourworldindata.org/covid-vaccinations
Worldometer. (2021, 07 26). COVID-19 Coronavirus Pandemic .
Retrieved from Worldometer: https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/
Dataset Dates by Country:
– First known COVID-19 case, 20 January 2020
– First vaccination given, 14 December 2020
– First dose milestone 10%, 09 February 2021
– Second dose milestone 10%, 10 March 2021
– First dose milestone 20%, 12 March 2021
– First dose milestone 30%, 01 April 2021
– Second dose milestone 20%, 08 April 2021
– First dose milestone 40%, 18 April 2021
– Second dose milestone 30%, 29 April 2021
– First dose milestone 50%, 25 May 2021
– Second dose milestone 40%, 26 May 2021
– Second dose milestone 50%, 30 July 2021
– First known COVID-19 case, 31 January 2020
– First vaccination given, 8 December 2020
– First dose milestone 10%, 21 January 2021
– First dose milestone 20%, 04 February 2021
– First dose milestone 30%, 16 February 2021
– First dose milestone 40%, 04 March 2021
– First dose milestone 50%, 19 March 2021
– Second dose milestone 10%, 03 April 2021
– First dose milestone 60%, 06 April 2021
– Second dose milestone 20%, 20 April 2021
– Second dose milestone 30%, 04 May 2021
– First dose milestone 70%, 19 May 2021
– Second dose milestone 40%, 19 May 2021
– Second dose milestone 50%, 02 June 2021
– First dose milestone 80%, 17 June 2021
– Second dose milestone 60%, 22 June 2021
– Second dose milestone 70%, 24 July 2021
Notes and Attachments:
# As the CDC's "COVID-19 Vaccine Breakthrough Case Investigation and Reporting" is a live website and may be further updated, attached is a copy of the report and figures retrieved as at 26 July 2021 as referenced throughout this publication.
Author: Rob Swanda of www.robswanda.com
Title: Early Statistics of Breakthrough COVID-19 Infections
Date first published: 06 August 2021