IDPH: 13 fully vaccinated Illinoisans, or one in every 244,770, have died from COVID-19
Among the nearly 3.2 million people fully vaccinated against COVID-19 in Illinois, 771 have gotten the disease anyway and 13 have died, Illinois Department of Public Health officials report.
The number is a tiny fraction of the total toll of the disease, which is 1,296,381 known cases and 21,630 deaths among Illinoisans since the pandemic began.
Citing confidentiality reasons, IDPH officials would not comment on whether the 13 who have died had anything in common or had health problems that could have made the vaccine less effective.
Recently, researchers have discovered that individuals who already suffered from compromised immune systems or were taking strong immunosuppressant drugs were more susceptible to severe outcomes of the virus, even if they had been fully vaccinated.
"What we don't know is the efficacy of these vaccines in immunocompromised individuals," said Dr. Jonathan Pinsky, medical director of infection control and prevention at Edward Hospital in Naperville. "We need to learn from those numbers and find out more about those cases to determine what the threat is."
Nationally, about 5,800 cases called "vaccine breakthroughs" have been reported to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, according to data from last week cited in a recent NPR report. Among those breakthrough cases, federal officials reported 74 deaths.
People are considered fully vaccinated when they are two weeks beyond their final doses of a vaccine. In Illinois, 3,182,010 people meet that standard, nearly a quarter of the population, according to IDPH figures.
Those who've become ill after being fully vaccinated represent less than 0.03% of that population, or one in every 4,127 fully vaccinated people.
Of those vaccinated who were infected, 29 were sick enough to be hospitalized. That's a rate of one in every 109,724 fully vaccinated individuals. Those who died represent one in every 244,770 fully vaccinated people.
Clinical trials of the vaccines used against COVID-19 in the United States showed at least 94% effectiveness at preventing severe disease and death and about 80% effectiveness at preventing COVID-19 infection.
Pinsky worried about how some of the breakthrough cases in fully vaccinated individuals were being counted. Since the onset of symptoms comes typically several days after infection, someone who is diagnosed after the two-week threshold actually might have been infected before the vaccine was fully effective.
"There's potential for fewer breakthrough cases the further you are from that second dose," he said.
All told, 166,885 more doses of COVID-19 vaccines went into the arms of Illinois residents and workers on Thursday, IDPH officials reported. It's the second-highest number of vaccines Illinois providers have administered in a single day.
Vaccine doses administered in Illinois are at 7,779,290, with 3,453,704 in suburban Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry and Will counties.
IDPH on Friday reported 3,866 new cases of COVID-19 and 21 more deaths from the respiratory disease.
Illinois hospitals were treating 2,058 patients for COVID-19 on Thursday, with 468 of them in intensive care.
The state's seven-day average case positivity rate is at 4.2%. It's remained at that level for three straight days. A key metric used in measuring infection levels, case positivity tracks the percentage of new cases derived from a batch of tests.