More than 3 million Coloradans have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, and fewer than 3,000 have gone on to be infected with the disease, state health officials said Wednesday.
Breakthrough cases -- meaning people who're infected despite being inoculated -- are to be expected, health officials have repeatedly said. Though the COVID-19 vaccine is more highly effective than flu or other inoculations, it does not offer total protection: The Pfizer and Moderna doses, for instance, are well over 90% effective but still shy of a perfect score.
Since mid-January, 2,916 Coloradans who've been inoculated have contracted the virus, an official for the state Department of Public Health and Environment told reporters Wednesday. The official, respiratory disease and COVID-19 surveillance manager Nisha Alden, said those breakthrough cases represented 0.1% of all vaccinated Coloradans.
Those cases also are paltry compared to the disease's presence overall: While there have been fewer than 3,000 breakthrough cases since mid-January, there have been nearly 169,000 COVID-19 cases overall in Colorado.
Of more than 8,500 people hospitalized with COVID-19 since Jan. 15, 218 — roughly 2.5% — had previously been vaccinated. Of the hundreds of deaths reported since mid-January, just 38 were among vaccinated residents.
The news comes as the state is at somewhat of a crossroads. On the one hand, cases and hospitalizations have plummeted over the past month, on the heels of a fourth wave that emerged in April. Alden noted that there's a direct correlation between counties' vaccination rates and their COVID-19 levels.
But on the other hand, despite sufficient supply, the state's vaccination rate has slowed significantly since April. To accelerate uptake, Gov. Jared Polis has touted a program that will give $1 million to five vaccinated Coloradans, plus $50,000 scholarships to 25 vaccinated teenagers. Still, despite those incentives, the vaccination rate has not spiked.