Health officials say it's normal to find "breakthrough cases," but in those cases the illness is much less severe — in Oregon all four cases were mild or asymptomatic.

By Benjamin VanHoose
February 16, 2021
Credit: Adobe Stock

A few people in Oregon tested positive for COVID-19 after receiving both doses of a coronavirus vaccine, though they experienced "reduced" severity of the illness.

The Oregon Health Authority announced in a series of tweets Friday that while overall cases of the novel coronavirus are decreasing in the state, the virus still "remains a threat," especially with more contagious variants looming.

Additionally, officials noted that there were at least four "breakthrough cases" reported in the state, meaning people tested positive for COVID-19 after receiving both doses of the vaccine.

"The illness in these individuals ranges from asymptomatic to mild," local officials said.

"Clinical trials of both vaccines presently in use included breakthrough cases. In those cases, even though the participants got COVID, the vaccines reduced the severity of illness," they added. "Based on what we know about vaccines for other diseases and early data from clinical trials, experts believe that getting a COVID-19 vaccine may also help keep you from getting seriously ill even if you do get the virus."

The experts noted that they "expect to see more breakthrough cases," adding that "getting as many Oregonians as possible vaccinated remains a critical objective to ending the pandemic."

The Oregon Health Authority also said as more communities open activities, they "anticipate that cases are likely to increase." "We still must protect ourselves and our loved ones by wearing masks, limiting indoor gatherings and keeping our distance."

As of Monday morning, Feb. 15, at least 38,292,270 people in the U.S. have received at least one dose of either Pfizer's or Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine, according to the CDC, and 14,077,440 people have gotten both doses.

The information in this story is accurate as of press time. However, as the situation surrounding COVID-19 continues to evolve, it's possible that some data have changed since publication. While Health is trying to keep our stories as up-to-date as possible, we also encourage readers to stay informed on news and recommendations for their own communities by using the CDCWHO, and their local public health department as resources.

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