MONDAY, Aug. 2, 2021 (HealthDay News) — The effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines is borne out in new government data showing that more than 99.99 percent of fully vaccinated Americans have not had a breakthrough infection resulting in hospitalization or death.

There were 6,587 COVID-19 breakthrough cases as of July 26 — including 6,239 hospitalizations and 1,263 deaths — among more than 163 million fully vaccinated people, according to U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention statistics, CNN reported. That means that fewer than 0.004 percent of fully vaccinated people had a breakthrough infection that required hospitalization and less than 0.001 percent died from a breakthrough infection. Most breakthrough infections (about 74 percent) occurred among adults 65 years or older.

The data support what health experts have been saying for months: COVID-19 vaccines are highly effective at preventing serious illness and death, and they offer the nation its best chance of slowing the pandemic, CNN reported.

The CDC published a study last week that showed the delta variant produced similar amounts of virus in vaccinated and unvaccinated people if they get infected. That study convinced CDC leaders to update the agency’s mask guidance on Tuesday, recommending that fully vaccinated people also wear masks indoors when in areas with high COVID-19 transmission to prevent further spread of the delta variant. Unvaccinated people should continue masking until they are fully vaccinated, the agency added.

Still, experts say that while the vaccinated may be able to transmit the virus, they remain well protected against getting seriously ill. Amid the latest surge of COVID-19 cases nationwide, the majority of new infections and hospitalizations are among unvaccinated people, CNN reported.

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