Just under half of the latest COVID-19 cases in Oregon involve people who’ve had at least one vaccine dose, according to the latest Oregon Health Authority report.

The most recent breakthrough case report, which details instances of people testing positive for the virus at least 14 days after vaccination, shows that almost 750 of the nearly 1,600 people last week who tested positive for COVID had been vaccinated. They accounted for nearly 47% of all cases. That rate has remained fairly consistent in recent weeks but has risen from last year. In October, for example, only about one-quarter of all COVID cases were in people who’d received at least one shot. 

To find a vaccine: Check your county 
health department. Go to GetVaccinated

The highly infectious omicron strain has spread since then, and now there’s an even more transmissible variant: BA.2. Oregon’s data dashboard shows that BA.2 is becoming more prevalent. It has already become the dominant strain in Washington state.

It does not appear to cause more severe symptoms.

Overall, among nearly 200,000 breakthrough cases in Oregon, about one-fifth were fully vaccinated and boosted at the time they tested positive.

Though vaccination is not a complete protection against COVID, it does help prevent infection. In the past week, people who were not vaccinated were three times more likely to become infected than those who were fully vaccinated with two shots of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines or one shot of Johnson & Johnson, the state report said. 

State data also show that relatively few people who’ve been vaccinated have been hospitalized and fewer have died. Among 1.6 million who’ve received two doses of the Pfizer vaccine, nearly 2,600 have been hospitalized – about 0.2% – and nearly 620, or 0.04% have died. Out of about 970,000 vaccinated with Moderna, about 1,700 have been hospitalized and nearly 375 have died. 

Nearly 245,000 Oregonians have received one shot of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. State data show 755 have been hospitalized and about 165 have died. In cases per 100,000 people vaccinated that’s about 7,000 for Pfizer, 6,300 for Moderna and nearly 7,900 for Johnson & Johnson.

So far, 2.8 million people have received one vaccine dose; 1.5 million have been boosted.

This week, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended a second booster dose for those aged 50 and over and aged 12 to 50 for those who are immunocompromised. The health authority said Thursday that providers are awash in vaccines. Studies have shown that protection starts to wane months after receiving a shot. 

Those who are at high risk of infections and potentially severe complications because of heart conditions, obesity, diabetes, dementia or other conditions, can further protect themselves against COVID by wearing a tightfitting mask – either a KN95 or N95 – in public places or around people they’re not used to seeing, experts say.

Oregon Capital Chronicle is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Oregon Capital Chronicle maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Les Zaitz for questions: info@oregoncapitalchronicle.com. Follow Oregon Capital Chronicle on Facebook and Twitter.