On Thursday, Mayor Bowser and DC Health released comprehensive data about breakthrough COVID-19 cases in DC, adding a new dashboard to coronavirus.dc.gov.
Breakthrough COVID-19 cases are defined as the positive detection of COVID-19 in an individual who is fully vaccinated.
Together with the announcement, the Mayor’s office noted that public health officials, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) expect some breakthrough cases are expected, and that there is no vaccine that is 100 percent effective at preventing illness in vaccinated people.
The COVID-19 vaccines remain a critical tool for saving lives, for reducing the severity of the illness in infected people, and stopping the spread of COVID-19.
“As we get more data about fully vaccinated people, the message couldn’t be clearer: don’t wait, vaccinate,” said Mayor Bowser. “We know, and the data continues to show us, that the COVID-19 vaccines are incredibly effective, they are safe, they are keeping people out of the hospital, and they are saving lives.”
The CDC has shared that breakthrough cases occur in only a small percentage of vaccinated people. Severe illness from COVID-19 is rare in fully vaccinated people. From January 2021 when less than 1 percent of the total DC population was fully vaccinated to June 2021 when over 50 percent of the total DC population was fully vaccinated, DC has seen a 95 percent decline in COVID-related deaths.
Four vaccinated people died COVID-19 related deaths, the data shows, all between March 14 and April 18. The victims had received a variety of vaccine types, including Moderna, Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson.
The District’s dashboard on breakthrough cases provides information about:
- Total cases, broken down by week and type of vaccine
- Demographic data, broken down by age range, gender, race, and ethnicity
- Time since fully vaccinated
- Medical overview, including whether infected individuals were symptomatic or asymptomatic, whether individuals were hospitalized, and lives lost
Current data shows that of 375,988 fully vaccinated individuals, DC has recorded 200 breakthrough cases, or just 0.05 percent of all fully vaccinated individuals. The dashboard on breakthrough cases will be updated every other week on Thursdays.
According to the CDC, approximately 45 percent of new cases in HHS Region 3, which includes DC, are due to the Delta variant.
To date, 1,613 DC samples have been sequenced by the DC Public Health Lab and private laboratories. Of those samples,:
- 495 samples, or 31 percent are the Alpha Variant (B.1.1.7);
- 27, or 2 percent, are Gamma (P.1);
- 17, or 1 percent, are Beta (B.1.351);
- and 16, or 1 percent, are the Delta variant, (B.1.617.2), with the remaining being wild-type. “Wild-type” refers to the strain of virus – or background strain – that contains no major mutations.
In order to increase variant surveillance, DC Health recently introduced rules which require clinical laboratories to sequence additional COVID-19 positive samples or submit samples to the DC Public Health Lab for sequencing.
Residents can find the closest available vaccination location at vaccines.gov or by texting their zip code to GETVAX (438829) in English or VACUNA (822862) in Spanish. Residents who are unable to leave home to get vaccinated can call 1-855-363-0333 to make an appointment for a free at-home vaccination.
See the data at coronavirus.dc.gov/data/vaccination