Delaware continues to push to vaccinate as many people as possible against the coronavirus. But even as the state rushes to get shots into arms as supplies allow, health officials pointed out Tuesday that it’s not an absolute guarantee against infection or even grave illness.
Nearly 200,000 Delawareans — about one in five residents — have been fully vaccinated, according to the state’s vaccine tracker. But during Gov. Carney’s weekly COVID-19 briefing, public health director Dr. Karyl Rattay announced that about 70 of them have tested positive afterward.
Three patients of advanced age with underlying conditions needed to be hospitalized and one died, Rattay said. She did not provide further details.
Rattay said recipients shouldn’t be alarmed, though, and hopes it won’t increase vaccine hesitancy with about 400,000 eligible residents yet to get vaccinated.
“Breakthrough cases are to be expected,’’ Rattay said. “Even these vaccines that are 94 percent effective some people are still going to be infected if they are exposed to the virus. That may because their own immune system didn’t respond well to the vaccine if they are elderly or are immunosuppressed for some reason.”
Rattay also speculated that fully inoculated people with underlying conditions who had what she called “heavy exposure’’ to an infected person could be at risk of post-shot infection.
Those scenarios led Ratty and Carney to stress that continued mask-wearing, physical distancing, and other protective measures, such as avoiding big indoor crowds, continue to be mandated.