Levine: Expect more breakthrough cases with omicron


MONTPELIER, Vt. (WFFF) — As local residents across Vermont continue to get vaccinated, Health Commissioner Dr. Mark Levine says health officials expect to see more and more breakthrough cases. “Since the delta variant began, our rate for breakthrough cases has crept up to about 2.4%,” he said.

While that number seems small, Levine said the rate of breakthrough COVID cases in Vermont is expected to rise higher due to the highly contagious omicron variant. “It is supposed to be twice as transmissible as the delta variant, which was already twice as transmissible as the preceding one,” he said. “We know there will be more breakthrough cases than 2.4%. And to me, this will just be the tip of the iceberg.”

On Monday, the Health Department reported that at least three people have tested positive with the omicron strain. Levine said there is reason for concern if everyone infected has a bad outcome, but said that breakthrough cases on average, have much better outcomes than cases among unvaccinated people.

Dr. Tim Lahey, an infectious disease physician at the University of Vermont Medical Center, said he has seen a lot of breakthrough infections in immuno-compromised people, who are especially vulnerable to breakthrough infections. He also said that an important tool to fight against omicron is to get boosted: “These vaccines still provide incredible protection from hospitalizations and death even from omicron, so there is no better time than yesterday to get vaccinated.”

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