KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services announced Thursday that they are adding new data identifying breakthrough infections to their statewide COVID-19 dashboard.
DHSS said in a release that the addition of the breakthrough infections highlights that the vaccine "remains a strong defense against the virus, and that older age and health co-morbidities are strongly correlated with "breakthrough infections."
A breakthrough infection refers to a person who is fully vaccinated, two weeks after the series of vaccinations is complete, but tests positive for COVID-19.
"The main goal of the vaccines was to decrease the severity of illnesses leading to hospitalizations and deaths, and it was never assumed they would prevent 100% of infections," the release said. "Becoming infected with SARS-CoV-2 (virus that causes COVID-19) after being fully vaccinated is termed a breakthrough infection and is still relatively rare."
The dashboard says that just 2% of fully vaccinated people developed an infection based upon exposure and 0.02% of fully vaccinated Missourians have died from COVID-19.
“This data reaffirms what we have been saying for nearly a year. COVID vaccines work very well to prevent hospitalizations and death,” DHSS Director Donald Kauerauf said in the release. “The vaccines continue to be an effective tool to protect Missourians from serious illness. This new data being released by DHSS also highlights the importance of receiving boosters when eligible, especially for those of higher risk due to age or health concerns who may not have as strong of an immune response following vaccinations.”
The new data comes from a partnership between DHSS and the Missouri Hospital Association's Hospital Industry Data Institute. They cross-referenced HIDI's individual patient hospital records with the DHSS vaccination status data.