We continue to educate: Vaccines are highly effective at preventing serious illness and death from COVID-19. 

The numbers continue to demonstrate this, including a look at cases we shared in a release earlier this week as Arizona reached 3 million people fully vaccinated.

Arizona reported 16,910 total COVID-19 cases during May. Out of those, we found that more than 95% — 16,139 in all — were people who hadn’t been fully vaccinated.

Breaking that down further, about 91% — 15,305 people in all — were unvaccinated. And about 5% had received one of two doses or weren’t two weeks beyond their second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines or their one dose of the Johnson & Johnson/Janssen vaccine. 

This is consistent with the effectiveness of these vaccines shown in rigorous clinical trials. And it’s just one example among many. 

In April, for example, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) looked at the protection vaccines offer to those 65 and older, a group at high risk for severe illness and death from COVID-19. It reported the effectiveness of the vaccines in preventing COVID-19-associated hospitalization among adults 65 and older at 94% for fully vaccinated individuals and 64% for partially vaccinated individuals. 

Even though vaccines are highly effective, none can provide 100% protection. Among Arizona’s 16,910 total COVID-19 cases in May, 771 involve fully vaccinated individuals. Ninety of these were hospitalized. Sadly, four of them died.

The extremely rare incidence of these breakthrough COVID-19 infections are reason to get more Arizonans vaccinated. The more people who are protected against COVID-19, the less chance the virus can spread to the one out of 20 people who can be a breakthrough case. 

Vaccination generally means less severe outcomes for those with breakthrough cases. One severe case of COVID-19 is one too many. One death from COVID-19 is one too many. 

It’s up to all of us to put COVID-19 in its place. Vaccines work very well. If you haven’t already done so, please get one now for your safety and for the safety of your family and your community.