RICHMOND, Va. -- According to new data from the Virginia Department of Health, 1,063 fully-vaccinated Virginians have tested positive for COVID-19. That's less than one percent of all COVID-19 case numbers.
The VDH dashboard also shows 71 fully-vaccinated Virginians have been hospitalized for COVID-19, and 17 have died.
"It is highly unusual, and when it occurs, it is surprising," explained Rebekah Butterfield, epidemiologist with the Richmond Henrico Health District. "Every time that that occurs, a few cases that we've had, we do make note of it and look into the patient's medical history to see if there are other, you know, underlying reasons for that.”
Butterfield is one of many scientists working to find out if COVID-19 variants, like the highly contagious Delta variant, are responsible for fully vaccinated adults contracting the virus.
"Vaccinated people tend to have milder infections," she noted. "So even if there was a vaccine breakthrough, the vaccine is still working to protect you."
A recent study showed Pfizer’s vaccine is still 88 percent effective against the Delta variant, and both Moderna and Johnson and Johnson say their vaccines work against it as well.
So what if you’re fully vaccinated and come in close contact with someone who tests positive for the virus?
"Most fully vaccinated people don't need to worry about COVID exposures, so they don't need to quarantine afterwards," said Butterfield. "Exceptions include residents or patients in hospitals or congregate care settings, who we would still recommend quarantine because of the high risk."
That no quarantine guidance stands even if the person who tests positive lives under your same roof, Butterfield noted. If you exhibit symptoms, health officials say you should talk to your doctor about getting tested, but if not, you can continue with your day to day live.
While breakthrough cases are rare, it's also rare for kids to face complications from contracting COVID-19. But Thursday, VDH announced the second death of a child under age 10.
"It's tragic," said Butterfield. "It's rare for children to have complications and extremely rare for children to die from this, but it is a possibility."
That's why health officials are urging parents to get their children vaccinated as soon as they are eligible.
Friday, Henrico teenagers Ibraham and Mintzer Ibraham rolled up their sleeves to get their second dose of the Pfizer vaccine at Henrico West’s COVID-19 vaccination clinic.
“I wanted to protect our people, our community," Ibraham explained.
Nurse Amy Snearer works at the clinic and says she's been encouraged by the number of parents who've brought their kids in to get vaccinated.
"Today we’ve seen a lot of minors," Snearer explained. "A lot of them are coming in on their own initiative. One young girl who turned 12 two days ago bugged her mom to come get her vaccine, so it’s been wonderful to see."
Snearer and other health officials believe getting kids vaccinated is also key to stopping COVID-19 variants.
“It’s vital," Snearer said. "That’s the only way we are going to get control of the disease is to get these kids vaccinated because they are the ones who are out there spreading it."
Virginians age 12+ are eligible for COVID-19 vaccine. Pre-registration is no longer required, so go to Vaccine Finder to search for specific vaccines available near you or call 877-VAX-IN-VA (877-275-8343).
Have You Been Fully Vaccinated?
People are considered fully vaccinated:
- 2 weeks after their second dose in a 2-dose series, such as the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or
- 2 weeks after a single-dose vaccine, such as Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine
How to Protect Yourself and Others When You’ve Been Fully Vaccinated
COVID-19 vaccines are effective at protecting you from getting sick. Based on what we know about COVID-19 vaccines, people who have been fully vaccinated can start to do some things that they had stopped doing because of the pandemic.
We’re still learning how vaccines will affect the spread of COVID-19. After you’ve been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, you should keep taking precautions—like wearing a mask, staying 6 feet apart from others, and avoiding crowds and poorly ventilated spaces—in public places until we know more.
These recommendations can help you make decisions about daily activities after you are fully vaccinated. They are not intended for healthcare settings.