DENVER | A total of 819 people in Colorado have contracted COVID-19 after being fully vaccinated, a small fraction of the number of the state’s residents who are now immune.
Dr. Rachel Herlihy, the state’s chief epidemiologist, gave a presentation on the number of breakthrough cases in Colorado at the governor’s Tuesday afternoon press conference. “Breakthrough cases” are COVID-19 cases in people who have been fully vaccinated and are past the two-week immunity window.
Since January, the state has identified 819 breakthrough cases, compared to over 106,000 cases in people who have not been vaccinated, Herlihy said.
The state did two different studies to measure the number of breakthrough cases. The first measured cases over one week. During that week, 140 cases were measured among vaccinated cases, for a rate of 1 in 7,000 vaccinated people becoming infected that week. Over 9,000 cases were reported among unvaccinated people that week, for a rate of 1 in 387.
Cumulatively, the 14-day incidence rate for vaccinated people is 29.6 per 100,000 people, compared to 413.8 per 100,000 unvaccinated people.
Those two studies demonstrated that people who are vaccinated are 93% to 94.6% less likely to contract the virus, Herhily said, which is consistent with data from other states and the rates identified in clinical trials.
The data clearly demonstrates that “vaccination is going to be our ticket out of this pandemic,” she said.
The state is still studying how much being vaccinated affects the severity of illness, she said, but according to CDC data about 30% of breakthrough cases are asymptomatic. Colorado has seen very low numbers of breakthrough cases requiring hospitalization, she said.
“It’s not a surprise but it’s really good to see,” Gov. Jared Polis said about the data.
The vaccine is now available to all Coloradans 16 and older, and he urged everyone who has not yet been vaccinated to schedule an appointment.
“For those of you who have been putting it off, now is the time to get it,” he said.
Pueblo County Fairgrounds, The Ranch in Loveland, Ball Arena in Denver and Mesa County Fairgrounds in Grand Junction are now offering walk or drive-in vaccinations without needing to schedule an appointment, Polis said.
Two others, Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City and Broadmoor Arena in Colorado Springs, have some same-day appointments available.
Information about where to get a vaccine is available at covid19.colorado.gov or my calling the state’s hotline at 1-877-268-2926.
“You’re not just protecting yourself…you are also protecting everybody you come in contact with,” by getting a vaccine, Polis said.