The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has identified around 5,800 confirmed cases of COVID-19 among people who were fully vaccinated, multiple outlets report.
Of the cases — which the CDC refers to as "breakthrough infections" — 396 developed severe COVID-19 illness that required hospitalization and 74 died from the virus, the CDC told CNN, adding that, "To date, no unexpected patterns have been identified in case demographics or vaccine characteristics."
"Vaccine breakthrough infections were reported among all people of all ages eligible for vaccination. However, a little over 40 percent of the infections were in people 60 or more years of age," the CDC added, per CNN.
The Wall Street Journal also reported the statistic, noting that the cases represented just a small fraction — 0.008% — of the fully vaccinated people in the country. The CDC defines fully vaccinated people as those who have received both doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines or the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine, and are two weeks past their second dose, when they should reach peak efficacy against COVID-19.
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So far, 76,681,252 people — about 23 percent of the total population — have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 as of Thursday morning, and nearly 124 million have received their first dose, according to the CDC's COVID data tracker.
The CDC reiterated that even after getting the vaccine, people should still practice social distancing and wear masks during the ongoing pandemic.
"Vaccine breakthrough infections make up a small percentage of people who are fully vaccinated," the CDC told CNN. "CDC recommends that all eligible people get a COVID-19 vaccine as soon as one is available to them. CDC also continues to recommend people who have been fully vaccinated should keep taking precautions in public places, like wearing a mask, staying at least six feet apart from others, avoiding crowds and poorly ventilated spaces, and washing their hands often."
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Dr. Reynold Panettieri, professor of medicine and pulmonary critical care physician at Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and Rutgers University, recently told PEOPLE what to know about vaccine side effects, including when to worry about possibly contracting COVID-19 after being vaccinated.
"If you start to have fever, chills, sweats, not feeling well, headache — those viral syndrome kind of reactions within 48 hours or 72 hours of the injection — I would not be concerned," said Panettieri. "If, on the other hand, it persists longer than that, or you have been in contact with somebody who just developed COVID or had a positive test, then it's time to get tested. And you can't take a rapid antigen test — that can be falsely positive because you now have antibodies. You need to do the PCR test."
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