The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services reported its first COVID-19 death of a fully vaccinated person Wednesday, according to a department news release.
State health officials said the patient was an 80-year-old female with underlying conditions. She had been hospitalized for 14 days after completing her two-dose Pfizer vaccination before she died.
"We are saddened to learn of this occurrence. While no deaths occurred in vaccinated individuals in the clinical trials, we understand that no vaccine or medication is 100% effective when used by millions of people. This does not negate the importance of vaccination and all of the positive effects of vaccination. Our state is approaching 50% of the total population being fully vaccinated and we need to keep that momentum. All Nebraskans who can get vaccinated should do so as soon as possible," Nebraska's Chief Medical Officer Dr. Gary Anthone said.
FILE - RN cleans a temporary COVID-19 patient area that used to hold 6 beds, but is no longer used, at Mission Hospital in Mission Viejo, CA.
People who have contracted the novel coronavirus after completing a vaccination series are known as "breakthrough cases."
"COVID-19 vaccines are effective and are a critical tool to bring the pandemic under control. However no vaccines are 100% effective at preventing illness. There will be a small percentage of people who are fully vaccinated who still get sick, are hospitalized, or die from COVID-19," according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
As of April 26, a total of 9,245 breakthrough COVID-19 cases had been reported in 46 states, with 132 of those cases resulting in death.
More than 56% of the nation's adults, or close to 146 million people, have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, and almost 41% are fully vaccinated, according to the CDC.
The health agency is now reporting an average of about 350,000 new cases each week, 35,000 hospitalizations and over 4,000 deaths.
Under the most optimistic scenarios considered, by the end of July new weekly national cases could drop below 50,000, hospitalizations to fewer than 1,000, and deaths to between 200 and 300.
"We are not out of the woods yet, but we could be very close," CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said, while noting that variants of the coronavirus are a "wild card" that could set back progress.
The projections are likely in line with what many Americans were already expecting for this summer.
The CDC recommends that fully vaccinated people should continue to "take steps to protect themselves and others in many situations, like wearing a mask, maintaining an appropriate social distance from others, avoiding crowds and poorly ventilated spaces, and washing their hands often."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.