A person who was fully vaccinated against the virus that causes COVID-19 died of the disease in Texas, officials announced Friday.
One of the 15 deaths reported in Dallas County was an immunocompromised individual who had received two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine but was a solid organ transplant patient, Judge Clay Jenkins, the top elected official in the county, said in a statement.
"Immunocompromised individuals are still vulnerable to this deadly virus even after vaccination. If you have family members who are high-risk, it’s critical that you get the vaccine and avoid large crowds so that you can best protect them," Jenkins said.
Fully vaccinated refers to a person who has received two shots of the Moderna or Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines or the single-shot Johnson & Johnson jab, followed by a period of at least two weeks.
The federal health agency declined to provide a state-by-state breakdown.
Of the fully vaccinated people who still contracted COVID-19, 74 died.
But a CDC spokesperson said the figures were not unexpected, given that no COVID-19 vaccine provides more than 95 percent protection. As of April 15, more than 78 million people were fully vaccinated against the virus in the United States.
“To date, no unexpected patterns have been identified in case demographics or vaccine characteristics,” the spokesperson said in an email.
“COVID-19 vaccines are effective, and are a critical tool to bring the pandemic under control. All of the available vaccines have been proven effective at preventing severe illness, hospitalizations, and deaths. However, like is seen with other vaccines, we expect thousands of vaccine breakthrough cases will occur even though the vaccine is working as expected.”
CDC Director Rochelle Walensky told members of Congress during a hearing in Washington this week that in some cases, the breakthroughs are caused by "failure of an immune response in the host."
Others may stem from the virus variants that are circulating, she added.
"We are keeping a close eye on this. We are reaching out to all of our state health officials as well as to our hospitals to make sure that people who are identified as a breakthrough infection, defined as two weeks after your second dose, or two weeks after your final dose, so that we can identify the cases that we're having," she said.