DOH: Breakthrough COVID-19 cases on the rise during omicron surge

OLYMPIA, Wash. — Breakthrough COVID-19 cases are on the rise during the latest surge in Washington state, the Department of Health said Thursday.

The DOH says current reporting shows a 43% increase in the number of breakthrough cases. While the majority experienced mild or no symptoms, at least 3% were hospitalized, a press release said.

The breakthrough cases represent about 2.5% of the vaccinated population in Washington, which is currently more than 4.8 million people.

“Even though the Omicron variant has an increased ability to evade immunity from vaccination, vaccines and boosters will lower the risk that an infection could land you in the hospital,” said Tao Sheng Kwan-Gett, MD, MPH, Chief Science Officer.

The DOH says the increase in the number of breakthrough cases is related to the increase in total cases statewide.

The department also said that clinical studies found COVID-19 vaccines prevent most people from serious illness and that breakthroughs are expected with any vaccine.

A case is considered a “breakthrough” if a person tested positive using a PCR or antigen test and received their final vaccine dose more than two weeks before the positive test.