Doctors encourage vaccines despite breakthrough cases

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (FOX 56) – Experts are reporting increasing breakthrough cases of COVID-19.

This means people who are fully vaccinated, with enough time after their last shot to build immunity, are still catching the virus.

However, experts say this is expected and the shots are doing what they were designed to do. They’re decreasing deaths and severe cases.

“This is like a seatbelt, the seatbelt’s not perfect,” said emergency physician Dr. Ryan Stanton. “You can get in a car wreck and you can still die even with the seatbelt, but it significantly decreases the risk.”

Dr. Stanton says prevention of contracting COVID-19 exceeds expectations. He says the shots are in the 90% range of prevention for original strains and in the 80th percentile for variants.

Dr. Stanton explains as cases increase worldwide, the virus adapts. He says the vaccine is our only effective management tool so far.

“It’s a no-brainer if you really look at the outcomes,” Dr. Stanton said.

At UK Hospital, there have been some breakthrough cases, according to UK assistant professor of infectious disease James Grubbs. Grubbs says, for the most part, they’re milder.

“The vaccine does its best work at preventing severe disease, which is what we care about the most,” Grubbs said.

Grubs says it’s often the newer variants breaking their way through.

“If people continue to not get vaccinated, there is a risk the incidents rates will go up,” Grubbs said.

Grubbs says then more variants could appear, and the less effective our vaccines could become.

The Lexington-Fayette County Health Department is working on tracking breakthrough cases in Lexington. Those numbers will hopefully be included in the health department’s daily reports starting Monday.

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