More than 50,000 fully vaccinated Massachusetts residents have now tested positive for COVID-19 and 406 of them have died, according to the latest state data on breakthrough cases published Tuesday.
The state Department of Public Health has tracked a cumulative 51,007 confirmed coronavirus infections among those fully vaccinated in the state to date.
The breakthrough cases represent just a small percentage -- about 1.08% -- of the 4.7 million people who have been fully vaccinated and the deaths an even smaller percentage -- just 0.009%. But both of those percentages are slightly higher than the previous week's data.
In the last week, 3,078 new breakthrough cases -- infections in people who have been vaccinated -- have been reported. That's down from 3,431 cases the previous week and 4,034 cases the week before that. And health officials said 121 of the new breakthrough cases resulted in hospitalization, down 17 from the week before. Overall, just 0.04% of vaccinated people have now been hospitalized.
Except for four weeks, the number of new breakthrough cases announced each Tuesday had climbed each week since DPH announced the initial batch of 7,737 breakthrough infections on July 31. But the numbers clearly appear to be on the decline since Oct. 12. Here's a quick look at how many new breakthrough cases have been reported over the past two months:
- Oct. 26 -- 3,078
- Oct. 19 -- 3,431
- Oct. 12 -- 4,034
- Oct. 5 -- 3,741
- Sept. 28 -- 4,378
- Sept. 21 -- 4,568
- Sept. 14 -- 3,919
- Sept. 7 -- 4,415
- Aug. 31 -- 3,704
- Aug. 24 -- 3,098
- Aug. 17 -- 2,672
- Aug. 10 -- 4,568
Despite the surge of different variants, faith among Boston-based doctors in the efficacy of COVID vaccines hasn't wavered.
"The fact that vaccines are not 100% effective at preventing COVID-related death doesn't mean they're 0% effective at preventing COVID-related death," Dr. Shira Doron of Tufts Medical Center said. "Some people will die of COVID who have been fully vaccinated, but the vaccine prevents death at least tenfold over being unvaccinated, according to every recent study, and probably more than tenfold. You are much more likely to die of COVID if you're unvaccinated."
Tuesday's Department of Public Health report pushed the state's cumulative confirmed COVID-19 caseload to 790,431 since the start of the pandemic and its death toll to 18,563.
Massachusetts' COVID metrics, tracked on the Department of Public Health's interactive coronavirus dashboard, dashboard, are far lower than they were in spring, and while all of the major ones have risen from their lowest points, some have dipped in recent weeks.
The majority of the coronavirus cases the state is now dealing with are in unvaccinated individuals.
Boston Medical Center's Dr. Davidson Hamer said last week that almost every patient his hospital has with COVID right now is unvaccinated, except for one very immunocompromised individual who had a breakthrough case.
"I think that remains a very high risk for having severe disease, hospitalization, and unfortunately, death," he said.
If you still need to be vaccinated, here's a tool to find the closest vaccination provider to your home.