Recently, the percentage of COVID-19 infections among fully vaccinated Coloradans – also called as ‘breakthrough cases’ – is growing sharply. This has prompted Governor Jared Polis to ask federal authorities to speed authorization of a booster shot for older generations. Amid the rise in Coronavirus cases especially due to the delta variant, he said he is carefully monitoring Israel’s decision to give COVID-19 booster shots to vaccinated people over 60 years old.
Countries including Israel and France have recommended booster doses of COVID-19 vaccines last month for immunocompromised patients and medical experts in the United Kingdom are also considering providing booster shots, which is the 3rd COVID-19 vaccine shot.
There are currently fewer vaccine breakthrough cases in Colorado than expected in children ages 12 to 17, and more in older adults. According to the state statistics, there are more breakthrough cases with Johnson & Johnson vaccine than the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.
“There is an increasing evidence that despite being vaccinated, you can still spread the virus even though you yourself might now have symptoms, and so you might spread it to others who are unvaccinated, who could then have very severe symptoms,” Polis said, urging Coloradans to get vaccinated. “I know we are all very tired of this virus. We are really in the final stages. Most importantly, we have a highly effective tool to combat it.”
He also said that he applauded recent efforts by local governments and private businesses to require employees to get fully vaccinated, though he is only requiring state employees to be regularly tested if they are unvaccinated.
State epidemiologist Dr. Rachel Herlihy said Colorado recorded 2,074 cases, 92 hospitalizations and 3 deaths among fully vaccinated residents from July 1 to July 24. The unvaccinated population accounted for 80 percent of cases, 87 percent of hospitalizations and 92 percent of deaths. Moreover, she stated that unvaccinated people have about 5 to 6 times the infection rate of those who are already vaccinated.
As the highly transmissible delta variant currently overwhelms communities in Colorado, the U.S. and around the world, the number of hospitalized patients is increasing again. Patients with compromised immune systems will soon be first in line in the U.S. to get COVID-19 booster shots and doctors in Colorado also on the front lines are eager to help vulnerable patients boost their antibodies.