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COVID-19 breakthrough infections: Local physician explains rare cases, encourages vaccine for protection |

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COVID-19 breakthrough infections: Local physician explains rare cases, encourages vaccine for protection

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Though someone contracting COVID-19 after being fully vaccinated is rare, it can happen, so 8 News Now spoke with a local doctor about the role immunization plays in community defense. 

The message to 'get vaccinated' isn't new, but it's even more important as COVID-19 cases soar across Southern Nevada. 

Though thousands are already immunized, others are still on the fence. 

"I'm fully vaccinated," Tom Donahue told 8 News Now.

"I'm just a little skeptical right now," Tommy Conover conversely said of the vaccine. 

As of Friday, more than 46% of those eligible in Nevada were fully inoculated against COVID-19. Experts attribute this rate below 50% to a spike in deaths and hospitalizations. 

For a look at Nevada's latest COVID-19 numbers, CLICK HERE.

"At least 80 percent of people who are in the hospital situation, with COVID," Family medicine physician Dr. Ati Hakimi, M.D. said. "Are unvaccinated people."

Yet in rare cases, people still contract COVID-19 after they're fully vaccinated, so 8 News Now asked Dr. Hakimi why this is happening. 

"People whose immune systems are still a little bit lower," she explained. "And still have been vaccinated, we are still very concerned for."

She said many factors can contribute to breakthrough infections, but the main thing these shots offer is protection from serious symptoms. 

According to The Centers for Disease Control, of 161 million people vaccinated across the country, only 5,914 contracted COVID-19 breakthrough infections that led to hospitalization or death. 

For a look at those statistics, CLICK HERE.

"Remember the more of us that are vaccinated," Dr. Hakimi added. "The less likely the virus can learn to mutate on us."

Another thing to consider is community defense, as high vaccination rates give variants like Delta less power to spread. 

"You don't want the new variant," Dr. Hakimi said of Delta. "It is very deadly."

Therefore, those who spoke with 8 News Now encourage us all to appreciate the value this vaccine brings to everyone. 

"If you are going out in public not vaccinated," Donahue concluded. "You're asking for trouble."

Dr. Hakimi said another misconception is those who've already contracted the virus believing they don't need the COVID-19 vaccine. 

She said this notion is false, as a new strain like Delta will attack immune systems differently, and the vaccine protects against all COVID-19 strains.

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