ARIZONA NEWS

Arizona’s top health official stresses COVID vaccines are still the ‘best protecting device’

Oct 19, 2021, 4:45 AM | Updated: 7:14 am

PHOENIX — Monday’s death of Colin Powell is putting a spotlight on breakthrough COVID-19 cases, which Arizona’s top health official said are extremely rare and added the vaccine is still the most effective way to fight off the virus.

Of the more than 3.7 million fully vaccinated people in Arizona, there have been 41,837 confirmed vaccine breakthrough cases. And of those cases, 284 have involved deaths, according to preliminary data by the Arizona Department of Health Services.

The breakthrough cases include those who were diagnosed at least 14 days after they were fully vaccinated. The vast majority are from people who got the Pfizer vaccine at 61%. Moderna’s comes in second at 28%, followed by 11% for those who got the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Don Herrington, interim state health director, told KTAR News 92.3 FM that breakthrough cases do happen but that the vaccine is still the “primary protecting device that we have.”

“We suggest that, unless there’s a medical condition that prevents you from getting vaccinated, that you do get vaccinated,” he said.

Herrington also noted Powell is part of a rare group of people who’ve died from COVID-19 despite being fully vaccinated.

Powell had been treated in recent years for multiple myeloma, which suppressed his immune system and his body’s ability to respond well to vaccines. His age, 84, also made him vulnerable to the virus.

“Factors like that contribute greatly as opposed to the general public on getting the disease or dying from it,” Herrington said.

He added it’s natural for people to ask about the effectiveness of the vaccines given Powell’s passing. Locally, the news about vaccinated members of the Arizona Cardinals organization testing positive for COVID-19 has also raised questions.

“The great thing about the vaccine – besides the fact that it’s our best protecting device – is that even if you happen to have a breakthrough case, the chances are you are much less likely to have a severe case,” Herrington said.

“It might be asymptomatic,” he continued. “It might be where you just have minor symptoms. Or even if you have symptoms, it might keep you out of the hospital when otherwise you might end up there without the vaccine.”

State data shows 87.1% of those hospitalized and 87.5% of deaths in Arizona for COVID-19 in August weren’t fully vaccinated.

We want to hear from you.

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

Arizona News

Andrew Ormsby, 22, was arrested on Wednesday, police said. (Maricopa County Sheriff's Office photo)...

KTAR.com

Phoenix police arrest man accused of fatally shooting victim found in West Valley alley

Andrew Ormsby, 22, was arrested on Wednesday for his involvement in the shooting death of Roy Orozco, 24, Phoenix police said.

4 hours ago

Guests mill about at a previous Guild Indian Fair & Market on the grounds of the Heard Museum in Ph...

KTAR.com

Heard Museum in Phoenix holding 66th annual Guild Indian Fair & Market this weekend

The Heard Museum in Phoenix is holding its signature event this weekend, the 66th annual Guild Indian Fair & Market.

5 hours ago

This undated image provided by Mikel Desmond shows his brother Marcus Tessier, who turned up in Dem...

Associated Press

Missing teen with autism found in New Mexico, about 200 miles away from his Arizona home

A missing teen with autism has been found in New Mexico — about 200 miles away from his home in southern Arizona.

7 hours ago

FILE - A group of migrants walk along the border in a remote part of the Arizona desert as they joi...

Associated Press

Bill in Arizona would punish migrants who enter country illegally

Republicans in Arizona are broadcasting a tough border stance with legislation aimed at punishing migrants who enter the United States illegally.

8 hours ago

Mugshot of Brandie Gotch, who faces multiple charges for an alleged rampage against children at a P...

Kevin Stone

West Valley mom accused of driving through park, injuring a child, while her kids were in truck

A woman was arrested Tuesday for allegedly driving her pickup truck through a West Valley park and hitting a child after she thought her kids were being bullied.

11 hours ago

Three former Arizona Department of Education employees are accused of obtaining funds from the stat...

KTAR.com

Former Arizona education employees accused of stealing money from ESA program

Three former Arizona Department of Education employees are accused of obtaining funds from the state's school voucher program for personal use, authorities announced Thursday.

11 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Day & Night is looking for the oldest AC in the Valley

Does your air conditioner make weird noises or a burning smell when it starts? If so, you may be due for an AC unit replacement.

(KTAR News Graphic)...

Boys & Girls Clubs

KTAR launches online holiday auction benefitting Boys & Girls Clubs of the Valley

KTAR is teaming up with The Boys & Girls Clubs of the Valley for a holiday auction benefitting thousands of Valley kids.

...

Sanderson Ford

The best ways to honor our heroes on Veterans Day and give back to the community

Veterans Day is fast approaching and there's no better way to support our veterans than to donate to the Military Assistance Mission.

Arizona’s top health official stresses COVID vaccines are still the ‘best protecting device’