PORTLAND, Ore. — Of the more than 700,000 Oregonians fully vaccinated against COVID-19, 168 of them still tested positive for the virus and three have died as of April 2, state health officials said Thursday.
The Oregon Health Authority (OHA) said these so-called "breakthrough cases" are reported when people test positive for COVID-19 at least 14 days after their final dose of a vaccine series.
They have been reported in 25 of the state's 36 counties, but they represent "a very small proportion" of the total number of Oregonians who've been fully vaccinated, OHA said in a news release.
"While the Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines are all highly effective at preventing severe COVID-19 illness and death, no vaccine is 100% effective, and vaccine breakthrough cases will occur," the release says.
Health officials said many of the breakthrough cases were asymptomatic and were tested for other reasons. They said 11% of the breakthrough cases were hospitalized within 30 days following their positive test, and most occurred in people older than 65 or with underlying health conditions.
"The three deaths represent fewer than 2% of the vaccine breakthrough cases," OHA said, adding that "none of the vaccine breakthrough cases were associated with a COVID-19 variant."
To prevent vaccine breakthrough cases, OHA recommends basic COVID safety precautions like masking, physical distancing and avoiding social gatherings.
State and local epidemiologists are continuing to track and investigate vaccine breakthrough cases and are working closely with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to collect information that may provide insight into characteristics associated with vaccine breakthrough.
On March 30, Washington state health officials reported 102 breakthrough cases out of 1.2 million fully vaccinated people.
Daily case numbers
The Oregon Health Authority (OHA) on Thursday reported 678 new COVID-19 cases in the state and five new deaths due to the virus.
Oregon’s death toll is now 2,439 people. OHA did not report specific information about the five people reported dead Thursday.
The 678 new cases is the most reported in a single day in Oregon since Feb. 5, when the state reported 846 new COVID cases.
The number of known COVID-19 cases in Oregon is now up to 168,795.
Multnomah County had the highest number of cases on Thursday with 108, followed by Jackson County with 88 and Washington County with 69.
The new cases are in the following counties: Baker (4), Benton (4), Clackamas (65), Clatsop (6), Columbia (10), Coos (7), Crook (4), Curry (3), Deschutes (47), Douglas (14), Gilliam (1), Grant (7), Hood River (5), Jackson (88), Jefferson (5), Josephine (27), Klamath (42), Lane (47), Lincoln (8), Linn (18), Malheur (1), Marion (48), Morrow (1), Multnomah (108), Polk (14), Tillamook (8), Umatilla (6), Union (1), Wasco (1), Washington (69) and Yamhill (9).
Oregon has now administered a total of 1,083,978 doses of Pfizer, 971,012 doses of Moderna and 61,539 doses of Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines.
As of Thursday, 1,340,235 doses of Pfizer, 1,212,800 doses of Moderna and 185,500 doses of Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines have been delivered to sites across Oregon.
Health officials said there are currently 168 people hospitalized with COVID-19 in Oregon, which is three fewer than Wednesday. There are 38 coronavirus patients in intensive care unit beds, which is four fewer than Wednesday.