• It is unclear which COVID-19 variant the two people were infected with
  • Local health experts reiterated that vaccines still provide high levels of protection against hospitalizations and deaths
  • Other states and counties have reported breakthrough cases of COVID-19

Two fully vaccinated people have died from COVID-19, health officials in Arizona said. Despite the deaths, local health experts reiterated that coronavirus vaccines are effective in protecting people from coronavirus-related hospitalizations and deaths.

The two vaccinated Arizonians who died were labeled “high-risk,” meaning they were either 65 years or older, or had pre-existing medical conditions, such as diabetes or chronic kidney disease, officials for Pima County’s Health Department said. It is unclear which variant infected the two residents, as reported by

This comes as the Delta variant has become the dominant variant in the U.S., according to estimates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And it will “likely soon establish dominance in Arizona,” the report said.

“At the individual level it’s a tragedy because someone took the effort to protect themselves and it failed,” Dr. Joe Gerald, an associate professor with the University of Arizona’s College of Public Health, told the publication. “But at the population level it doesn’t represent a threat because these numbers are so small,” he added.

Pima County officials have reported 401 breakthrough cases of fully vaccinated people contracting COVID-19. It is at least 0.075% of the county’s 535,800 fully vaccinated residents. Health officials have also reported 16 cases wherein fully vaccinated people were hospitalized with COVID-19.

The breakthrough cases come as Hawaii Department of Health reported its first case of COVID-19 death involving a fully vaccinated resident. The Oahu man, who was older than 80, was hospitalized with multiple pre-existing medical conditions before his death, according to Khon 2.

Officials in Warren County, Ohio, also confirmed that a resident died from COVID-19 last week despite being fully vaccinated against the virus. The resident was in their 70s and was suffering from other health issues at the time of his hospitalization, as reported by CBS News Albany.

White House coronavirus response coordinator Jeff Zients recently said a majority of COVID-19 related hospitalizations and deaths in the United States involved people who have not yet received a shot of the vaccine.

“Virtually all COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths in the United States are now occurring among unvaccinated individuals,” he said, noting that cases will continue to rise as the Delta variant spreads across the nation, according to CNBC.

Currently, the states with the lowest vaccination rates are Mississippi, Alabama, Wyoming and Arkansas. Creative Commons