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Is the vaccine still working? In short, experts say 'yes'

Analyzing breakthrough COVID-19 cases
Posted at 9:37 PM, Sep 24, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-25 09:18:17-04

WACO, Texas — We are seeing more breakthrough cases across the country. Fully vaccinated people ending up sick with the virus.

This is leading many to question the effectiveness of the vaccine.

With COVID-19 cases climbing nationwide and the Delta Variant continuing to surge, hospitals and records are seeing an increasing number of breakthrough cases.

Dr. Van Wehmeyer, a doctor at Baylor Scott & White, said while there are still breakthrough cases the vaccine is still preventing serious problems from the infection.

"If you're a vaccinated person we are seeing runny nose and sore throat for the majority of the people," Wehmeyer said. "For example, I have three to four 30-year-old young women and they got COVID and some of them are still on oxygen."

According to the CDC, as of Monday, Sep. 13, more than 178 million people in the United States had been fully vaccinated against COVID-19. During the same time, among 49 states there have been over 15,000 breakthrough cases.

Right here in Central Texas in the last 24 hours, one person who was fully vaccinated has died from COVID-19 related complications -- reaching five for Brazos County.

In McLennan County, while cases are climbing, the vaccination rate is at a plateau. Kelly Crane, spokesperson for the Waco-McLennan County Public Health District said, the county is at 49.8 percent vaccinated.

"It is the difference between getting healthy and having a mild case of COVID or being in the hospital. It really is just black and white," Crane said.

Q: Is the vaccine still working?

  • According to science, yes.

Dr. Wehmeyer said it's important to look at the history of other vaccines. The flu shot is between 40 to 60 percent effective. This is much less than any of the three COVID-19 vaccines. Pfizer's vaccine is proven to be 88.8 percent effective and Moderna's which is 96.3 percent effective.

But as more time goes on, Wehmeyer said there could be a question over the lasting impact of the vaccine. He said we might need a booster shot.

This comes after the FDA rejected Pfizer's booster shoot a few weeks back. On Sep. 22, it approved the use of it for people 65 and older or if you are compromised. Pointing to the idea of an annual shot.

"As far as this goes, if we are fortunate it goes away which we are hoping, this year vaccine might not be needed, but if it turns into the flu circulating event we might be pushing yearly boosters," Dr. Wehmeyer said.