Breakthrough COVID-19 cases like Chris Paul’s are extremely rare

Jun 16, 2021, 10:52 AM | Updated: 2:01 pm

Phoenix Suns guard Chris Paul was placed in the NBA’s health and safety protocols after reportedl...

Phoenix Suns guard Chris Paul was placed in the NBA’s health and safety protocols after reportedly testing positive for COVID-19 despite being fully vaccinated. (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)

(Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)

PHOENIX – Although Phoenix Suns star Chris Paul reportedly tested positive for COVID-19 in a high-profile case despite being fully vaccinated, such breakthrough infections are extremely rare in Arizona.

Only around 2,000 COVID-19 cases have been documented among the approximately 3 million people fully vaccinated in the state, the Arizona Department of Health Services told KTAR News 92.3 FM in an email Monday.

Will Humble, executive director for the Arizona Public Health Association and former ADHS director, told KTAR News on Tuesday the vaccines are performing better than advertised.

“That’s like 99-point-something percent effective,” he said. “The real-world experience has even been better than that 95% number that we’ve heard about so much from the clinical trials.”

Of the 2,095 vaccinated individuals who tested positive, 1,275 were reached for follow-up, ADHS spokesman Steve Elliott said. Of them, 214 were hospitalized and 13 died, “though it isn’t clear at this point what role COVID-19 played in those deaths,” he added.

ADHS tweeted Wednesday that 16,910 total cases of COVID-19 were documented in May, with 95.4% of the individuals not fully vaccinated.

Humble acknowledged that more breakthrough cases have occurred than been documented because not every infection causes symptoms or leads to testing or treatment.

Regardless, he said, “Truthfully, this is fantastic data. This shows how incredibly effective these vaccines are, not just at saving lives and keeping people out of the hospital, but preventing them from ever being infected with this virus once they’re vaccinated.”

By contrast, Humble said flu vaccines range from 45%-65% effective, depending on the year.

“You don’t hear anybody complaining that much about the flu vaccine being ineffective,” he said.

The Suns confirmed Wednesday that Paul was placed in the NBA’s health and safety protocols without saying why. John Gambadoro of 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports reported that the veteran point guard tested positive for COVID-19 even though he received the Pfizer vaccine in February.

It’s unknown whether the All-NBA second-teamer has been symptomatic and how long he’ll have to sit out. The Suns have reached the Western Conference Finals, which will start Sunday or Tuesday depending on how long the semifinal series between the Utah Jazz and Los Angeles Clippers lasts.

As of Wednesday morning, 888,005 cases of COVID-19 have been documented in Arizona since the start of the pandemic, with 17,791 deaths.

According to the ADHS COVID-19 dashboard, 6,220,506 vaccine doses have been administered in the state, with 3,468,999 people (48.3% of the state’s population) having received at least one shot and 3,018,287 people fully vaccinated.

KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Peter Samore contributed to this report.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

An image from Google Street View shows the third-party post office between a Jimmy John's and a Dun...

Southeast Valley shopping center evacuated while authorities investigate bomb threat

Multiple businesses at a southeast Valley shopping center were evacuated Monday because of a bomb threat, authorities said.

20 minutes ago

A DUI suspect drove down a 200-foot embankment in Cottonwood before a second DUI suspect was arrest...

Arizona DUI suspect’s car careens down 200-foot embankment before 2nd DUI suspect arrested

A DUI suspect drove down a 200-foot embankment in Arizona on Saturday morning before another DUI suspect attempted to evade police at the crash area, authorities said.

52 minutes ago

Split panel image of the front of an Albertsons grocery store on the left and a Kroger plastic bag ...

Kevin Stone

Arizona joins federal lawsuit to block merger of grocery giants Kroger and Albertsons

Arizona is part of a federal lawsuit filed Monday to block the controversial merger of Kroger and Albertsons, two of the nation’s largest grocers.

2 hours ago

The eastbound Loop 202 South Mountain freeway was closed in Phoenix on Feb. 26, 2024, for a fatal c...

Eastbound Loop 202 South Mountain Freeway closed in Phoenix for fatal wrong-way crash

The eastbound Loop 202 South Mountain freeway was closed in Phoenix on Monday for a fatal wrong-way crash, authorities said.

3 hours ago


KTAR Video

Video: Congress says border issue is a crisis, but what took so long for both sides of the aisle to agree?

Biden’s border bill has yet to pass through the Senate to even reach the House of Representatives, yet both sides of the aisle agree that the immigration issue at the U.S.-Mexico border is now a crisis. Arizona Rep. Debbie Lasko joined The Mike Broomhead show to weigh in. Video: Jeremy Schnell and Felisa Cárdenas/KTAR News

3 hours ago

Mugshot of Jill Houchens, who was arrested Feb. 19, 2024, on 146 counts of animal abuse and neglect...

Arizona woman arrested on nearly 150 animal abuse and neglect charges

An Arizona woman faces nearly 150 charges after more than 20 animals, including five that were dead, were removed from her property earlier this month, authorities said.

4 hours ago

Sponsored Articles


Collins Comfort Masters

Here’s 1 way to ensure your family is drinking safe water

Water is maybe one of the most important resources in our lives, and especially if you have kids, you want them to have access to safe water.


Fiesta Bowl Foundation

The 51st annual Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade is excitingly upon us

The 51st annual Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade presented by Lerner & Rowe is upon us! The attraction honors Arizona and the history of the game.


Collins Comfort Masters

Avoid a potential emergency and get your home’s heating and furnace safety checked

With the weather getting colder throughout the Valley, the best time to make sure your heating is all up to date is now. 

Breakthrough COVID-19 cases like Chris Paul’s are extremely rare