Why aren’t COVID breakthrough cases by vaccine type being reported?

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FILE – This Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021 file photo shows vials for the Moderna and Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines at a temporary clinic in Exeter, N.H. In September, 2021, the Food and Drug Administration approved extra doses of Pfizer’s original COVID-19 vaccine after studies showed it still works well enough against the delta variant. And the FDA is weighing evidence for boosters of the original Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

ALBANY, N.Y. (WTEN)-It appears as though government agencies are not tracking the number of breakthrough cases by specific vaccine or if they are, they are only loosely collecting data.

New York has a website dedicated to providing up-to-date information on breakthrough cases but it does not include vaccine-specific information.

Warren County regularly provides information on breakthrough cases in its daily COVID reports. WTEN asked if they had to also provide that information to the New York State Department of Health (DOH). They do and have been required to for some time, according to Public Health Director, Ginelle Jones.

Albany County reported 49% of new COVID cases were in fully vaccinated residents Tuesday. The county’s department of health said they also report breakthrough cases and vaccine-specific information. They said the information is self-reported by fully vaccinated COVID-positive residents and shared with the state through CommCare.

WTEN reached out to the DOH Tuesday regarding vaccine-specific information on breakthrough cases but after multiple emails, was unable to get a clear answer on what happens to the information after counties send it in. They pointed us to the state’s website with breakthrough case data.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said Tuesday they do not track breakthrough cases by vaccine type, even though its website said they are tracking hospitalizations and deaths of breakthrough cases. Part of which included vaccine-specific information.

“CDC monitors reported data on hospitalized and fatal vaccine breakthrough cases to understand: patterns by age and sex; the specific types or brands of vaccine involved; underlying health conditions in these persons; which SARS-CoV-2 variants are observed in persons who are hospitalized or who die.”

The website was reportedly last updated on September 7.

WTEN asked the CDC if they could tell us why they were not tracking breakthrough cases by vaccine type but did not get a reply.

Information on COVID including cases, vaccinations, the COVID-19 School Report Card, and long-term facility deaths were previously made available in various locations. New York unveiled a new website Tuesday with direct links to COVID reports on one page, in order to make the information more accessible.

“Providing new data about COVID-19 to the public and making existing data easier to access and understand is yet another step we are taking towards more transparency,” Governor Kathy Hochul said. “We will continue to do everything we can to share the latest information with New Yorkers, especially during this unprecedented pandemic.”  

NEWS10 emailed the Governor’s office Tuesday afternoon inquiring about whether or not vaccine-specific information would eventually be available online but has not heard back.

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