KEY POINTS

  • 89 fully vaccinated people tested positive for COVID-19
  • The patients were among the 800,000 fully vaccinated residents in Minnesota
  • Health officials say the breakthrough cases were not cause for concern

Minnesota's Department of Health on Wednesday identified 89 “breakthrough cases” of coronavirus infections involving a small percentage of fully vaccinated residents. A small number of thes cases led to hospitalizations. 

As of Wednesday, Minnesota health officials have fully vaccinated more than 800,000 residents. This puts the breakthrough rate at around 0.01%. 

"That's well below one-tenth of one percent — an incredibly small number of cases that dramatically illustrates how effective these vaccines are," Kris Ehresmann, MDH Infectious Disease Director, said in a briefing. "We should not be fooled into seeing such a case as a reason to doubt the vaccine effectiveness.”

The state's health department has launched an investigation into the cases to see if they have anything in common, Ehresmann revealed. The review would reveal whether a cluster of the patients were vaccinated at the same site, which could mean there was a problem with the handling of the vaccine or that the batch was tainted. 

State health officials have interview 72 of the 89 patients who were tested positive for the coronavirus and found that 30 had developed COVID-19 symptoms. 

Health experts say the breakthrough cases were no cause for major concerns. Dr. Hannah Lichtsinn, an internal medicine physician with Hennepin Healthcare, said that while clinical trial data showed COVID-19 vaccines’ efficacy rates between 72% to 95%, its effectiveness would still depend on the recipient’s immune response. 

"Some people may not mount enough of a response to the vaccine so that they have that full level of protection that they can fight off this virus without any symptoms at all," Lichtsinn told Kare 11

"We don't know yet enough about if there are specific risk factors that make one person more likely than another to have a good response to this vaccine," she added. 

The health department said none of the 89 fully vaccinated patients who developed COVID-19 have died. 

"It's important to know that even if someone is vaccinated and then goes on to be one of the few unfortunate people to develop a breakthrough case, there still can be some level of protection provided by the vaccine," Ehresmann said. 

The shot is the second to be given the green light after the AstraZeneca vaccine The shot is the second to be given the green light after the AstraZeneca vaccine Photo: AFP / Nhac NGUYEN