Despite breakthrough COVID cases, doctors say vaccines protect against getting sick

Coronavirus Update New Jersey

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Friday, July 16, 2021
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Breakthrough cases of COVID-19 are popping up in those who are fully vaccinated, but those who haven't gotten the shot are raising the most concerns.

LIVINGSTON, New Jersey (WABC) -- Breakthrough cases of COVID-19 are popping up in those who are fully vaccinated, but it is those who haven't gotten the shot that have health experts most concerned about a resurgence of the virus.

This is particularly true as the more transmissible Delta variant spreads.

In Livingston, New Jersey, Mayor Shawn Klein said of the township's 23 positive cases in the past three weeks, 12 were in people who were fully vaccinated.

The others were either unvaccinated or did not cooperate with interview questions.

That is an increase from nine total cases in the last two weeks of June.

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However, St. Barnabas Hospital reports almost no increase in cases, and the cases they do see are almost all unvaccinated.

"Like the Yankees story, being vaccinated doesn't protect you from being infected and that's wrong take-home message here, the correct take-home message is that being vaccinated protects you from getting sick," Klein said.

Mayor Klein is also a doctor and offered advice to residents.

"If you're not vaccinated, you better have a mask on," Klein said.

The White House COVID team used Friday's briefing to drive home the message that unvaccinated people are generally the ones ending up in the hospital.

"There is a clear message that is coming through," CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said. "This is becoming a pandemic of the unvaccinated."

Dr. Anthony Fauci said the Delta variant is formidable.

"And so the message, loud and clear, that we need to reiterate is that these vaccines continue to (provide) strong protection against SARS-CoV-2, including the Delta variant," he said. "And why it's so important for yourself, your family, and your community to get vaccinated."

New Jersey's largest health care network, Hackensack Meridian Health, made it mandatory Friday for all employees -- from doctors to janitors -- to get vaccinated by November 15.

"COVID-19 vaccines are proven to be safe and highly effective at preventing transmission, hospitalizations and death from the virus," Chief Physician Executive Dr. Daniel Varga said. "Over the past year, we have used every tool at our disposal to protect patients and team members from COVID-19. More than 70% of our team members are vaccinated. We are requiring vaccinations for all team members to help stop the spread of this deadly virus and keep our patients, team members and visitors safe. Mandatory vaccinations are the best way to achieve herd immunity, and protect our communities from the deadly variants that are threatening to wreak havoc in the months ahead. They're our best shot at defeating this pandemic once and for all, saving lives and returning to normal."

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