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Health experts in Nueces County stand by vaccine as breakthrough cases surface

40% of people in Nueces County are fully vaccinated.

NUECES COUNTY, Texas — As COVID-19 cases surge, reports of fully vaccinated people testing positive for the virus are surfacing.  

They're called breakthrough cases and there's a chance of more as the virus mutates and spreads. Local health experts said this has always been a possibility and they still stand by the vaccine as being effective.

"There is no escape from this virus, no matter where you are," Dr. Srikanth Ramachandruni, an Infectious Disease Specialist with Nueces County said. "It's gonna catch you, so it's not a matter of if, but when."

Dr. Ram said breakthrough cases are expected, but the severity of them is what people should notice. 

RELATED: Health District breaks down the 140+ COVID-19 breakthrough cases in Nueces County

"99%, maybe 100% of the time, they prevent deaths or hospitalizations, so that's the key, you know, even if you get the vaccine, you know, even if you get infection, you're not likely to die or you're not likely to go into the hospital," he added. 

Out of more than 8,000 COVID-19 deaths in Texas since February, at least 43 were fully vaccinated, according to the State Health Department.

RELATED: Nueces County Officials: Four fully vaccinated patients died of COVID-19 in last three months

"We knew that that was about the right amount of individuals to start seeing what they call vaccine breakthrough cases," He said. "It's actually .01%, very small numbers."

City-County Health Director Annette Rodriguez said no vaccine is 100% proof. As the virus mutates and spreads, she said everyone still faces the chance of contracting the virus.

"But if I don't have the vaccine, I almost have 100% chance that I'm going to pick it up so at some point, " Rodriguez said. "If I'm walking around and I'm unprotected, I have a much better chance of getting infected and end up hospitalized."

Currently, Nueces County is stagnant with 40% of the population fully vaccinated. Rodriguez said until herd immunity is reached, we can expect to see breakthrough cases continue.

So what about the other 60%?

"Those are the ones I think CDC said, and they said it very eloquently, they said for those people that are not vaccinated, this will probably be the worst virus in a lifetime that they will ever have," Rodriguez said. 

For the latest updates on coronavirus in the Coastal Bend, click here.

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