MADISON, Wis. - Wisconsin health officials say that only 0.03% of people who have been fully vaccinated for the coronavirus have tested positive for COVID-19.
The Wisconsin State Journal reported on Wednesday that the number of so-called breakthrough cases was just 605 out of 1.8 million people who are fully vaccinated. The state's number of breakthrough cases is higher than the national rate of 0.008% reported by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The CDC has said that the national tally is an undercount and some infections are expected among those who are immunized because no vaccine is 100% effective.
The Wisconsin Department of Health Services released the number of breakthrough cases to the State Journal only after the newspaper repeatedly reported health officials declined to provide the data.
The 605 Wisconsin cases, found in people at least two weeks after they were fully immunized, are among 82,369 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 since Jan. 18, said Jennifer Miller, a spokesperson for the state Department of Health Services.
"With such a small percentage of breakthrough cases, but with COVID-19 still active in our state, we continue to encourage everyone to get vaccinated with one of the three highly effective COVID-19 vaccines available," Miller said.
Dr. James Conway, a UW Health pediatrician and vaccine expert, called the very low rates of breakthrough cases "reassuring" and proof the vaccines are working as well or better than expected. But health officials caution that the cases also serve as a reminder that people should keep taking coronavirus precautions for now even if fully vaccinated.
In about half of Wisconsin’s breakthrough cases, those infected reported no symptoms, Miller said. Breakthrough cases have occurred with each of the three vaccines and in all Wisconsin counties, she said. About 66% are female, about 40% are ages 65 and older and 25% are ages 18 to 40.