Since January, 142 Houstonians tested positive for COVID 14 days after being fully vaccinated, data shows

Chaz Miller Image
Tuesday, April 13, 2021
142 fully-vaccinated Houstonians still got COVID, data shows
Can fully vaccinated people still get COVID? New data from the Houston Health Department suggests it's rare but still possible.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- If you think receiving a vaccine means you're completely immune from getting COVID-19, Houston health experts want you to review some of the latest data.

According to the Houston Health Department, more than 100 residents in the city have reportedly tested positive after they say they were fully vaccinated.

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"That is not unexpected," said Dr. David Persse, who is the Chief Medical Officer for the City of Houston. "The vaccine is not 100 percent effective."

Since January, 142 Houstonians who either received both doses of Moderna and Pfizer vaccines or a single shot of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine still contracted the virus. The report also rules out those who were said to have contracted the virus 45 days before their second scheduled shot date. Additional data suggests this is a super rare occurrence.

The Houston Health Department is reporting roughly 2.46 positive cases out of every 10,000 fully-vaccinated people. It is unclear if those who tested positive contracted the original strand of COVID-19 or one of the several newer variants.

"There will be a few rare individuals infected with COVID-19 after having been vaccinated," said Dr. Wesley Long of Houston Methodist Hospital. "If you've been vaccinated and are still infected, those infections by-and-large are incredibly mild compared to COVID-19 infection in unvaccinated individuals."

Additionally, Dr. Persse says vaccinated individuals should continue to wear masks in public, as well as practice social distancing, because there's still a small chance vaccinated individuals can spread COVID-19 if they've been infected by the virus.

"I've got four masks on my desk," said Persse, who is fully vaccinated and still undergoes regular COVID-19 tests. "I've made the commitment to my family that I'm not going to bring it home to them and get them sick."

Persse and Long both say continuing those safety measures, in addition to vaccinating large portions of the population, are what we need to return to some version of normalcy in the future.

"As we go through the summer and into the fall, as we get vaccines approved for teenagers and children, I think that will help," said Long. "Going through the rest of this year I think we'll start to see things get back to whatever normal looks like for us in 2021."

The city and county maintain separate COVID-19 numbers. While the city has 142 positive cases, according to the Harris County Health Department, as of April 12, 96 out of 106,000+ residents who were fully vaccinated through HCPH vaccination sites have tested positive for COVID-19.