KEY POINTS

  • The state's total breakthrough COVID-19 deaths represent less than 1% of all fully vaccinated people
  • Health officials also recorded over 27,500 new breakthrough infections over the past week
  • Massachusetts has so far reported 1,493,224 COVID-19 infections and 21,633 deaths

Nearly 300 fully vaccinated residents in Massachusetts died of breakthrough COVID-19 over the past week even as case numbers have dropped statewide.

Between Jan. 22 and 29, Massachusetts health officials reported 290 additional breakthrough COVID-19 deaths, bringing the state’s total death toll among the fully vaccinated to 1,789. The figure represents 0.03% of the state’s inoculated population. 

During the same period, health officials also recorded 27,530 new breakthrough infections and 555 additional hospitalizations. The state has now reported a total of 422,132 cases and 6,440 admissions among the fully vaccinated. The numbers represent 8.1% and 0.12% of the state’s inoculated population, respectively, according to the latest COVID-19 Vaccine Data from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.

A breakthrough case refers to when a person who has been fully vaccinated or boosted against COVID-19 tests positive for the virus at least 14 days after the last dose. 

Despite the rising number of breakthrough cases, public health experts still urge people to get vaccinated, noting that the shots help prevent severe illness, hospitalizations and deaths. Health experts also note that breakthrough cases are expected as no vaccine is 100% effective in preventing an infection.

The report from the Department of Public Health comes as Massachusetts has reported a 62% decrease in daily new cases over the past 14 days, an analysis of data conducted by CNN found.

On Wednesday, Massachusetts health officials reported 4,973 new confirmed cases and 87 additional deaths among the unvaccinated and vaccinated. This puts the state’s overall infections to 1,493,224 and deaths to 21,633 since the beginning of the pandemic.

Over the past 14 days, the majority of the cases occurred in people aged 20 to 29. The least number of cases were reported in people aged 80 and older.

As of Wednesday, there are a total of 1,799 patients hospitalized for COVID-19 in Massachusetts. At least 298 patients have been admitted to Intensive Care Units (ICU) and 176 are intubated.

The state’s seven-day rolling average test positivity hit 6.37% on Wednesday, down from 7.13% reported Tuesday, according to the health department’s dashboard.

Paramedics unload a patient from an ambulance after arriving at Leeds General Infirmary hospital in Leeds, northern England on January 5, 2022; official data shows one in 15 people in England were infected with the coronavirus in 2021's final week Paramedics unload a patient from an ambulance after arriving at Leeds General Infirmary hospital in Leeds, northern England on January 5, 2022; official data shows one in 15 people in England were infected with the coronavirus in 2021's final week Photo: AFP / Oli SCARFF