Majority of COVID cases in July among those not fully vaccinated, DHEC says


FILE – A pharmacy technician loads a syringe with Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine, Tuesday, March 2, 2021, at a mass vaccination site at the Portland Expo in Portland, Maine. U.S. experts are expected to recommend COVID-19 vaccine boosters for all Americans, regardless of age, eight months after they received their second dose of the shot, to ensure lasting protection against the coronavirus as the delta variant spreads across the country. An announcement was expected as soon as this week, with doses beginning to be administered widely once the Food and Drug Administration formally approves the vaccines. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WSPA) – The majority of COVID cases last month were among those who were not fully vaccinated, according to an analysis released by DHEC.

Following the analysis that revealed more than 90 percent of COVID-19 cases and deaths in June and 86 percent of hospitalizations were among individuals who were not fully vaccinated, the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) has determined similar findings for the month of July.

From July 1-31, DHEC reported 26,848 cases among South Carolinians.

  • Among the 14,262 reported cases where we were able to determine vaccine status, 12,491 (88%) of cases were considered not fully vaccinated.
  • Among the 550 reported cases who were hospitalized with COVID and where they were able to determine vaccine status, 424 (77%) were considered not fully vaccinated.
  • Among the 110 reported deaths from COVID where vaccine status was able to be determined, 87 (79%) were considered not fully vaccinated.

“Obviously, we are seeing an increase in breakthrough cases, hospitalizations, and deaths for the month of July. The rise of highly transmissible variants like Delta and lagging vaccination rates have led to increases in these categories overall, including breakthrough cases. But it is important to note that cases, hospitalizations, and deaths among fully vaccinated residents are still rare. And in most situations of breakthrough cases, the person has no symptoms or very mild ones that clear up in a matter of days.”

Dr. Brannon Traxler, Public Health Director.

An individual is considered fully vaccinated 14 days or more after completing their second dose of Pfizer or Moderna, or their single dose of Janssen vaccine, according to DHEC.

They say breakthrough cases are expected with any type of vaccine. While vaccines can prevent catching a virus, the main goal of inoculation is preventing severe illness if the virus is contracted.

“Data still shows that vaccinations can end this pandemic if enough people are willing to roll up their sleeves,” Traxler added. “We are at the most crucial point yet in our fight against COVID-19. Our children are going back to school and more people are visiting businesses and attending large-scale events. We need everyone to unite for the same goal of stopping COVID-19 spread. That means getting vaccinated, wearing masks, and following other safety and health protocols.”

DHEC will continue releasing this provisional data every two weeks and can be found here.

Additionally, DHEC is now tracking breakthrough cases on its website. That page can be found here.

DHEC strongly encourages every eligible person to get their COVID-19 vaccination as soon as possible, including people who already had COVID-19. Studies have shown that vaccination provides a strong boost in protection in people who have recovered from COVID-19, health officials said.

Vaccines are available for ages 12 and up. Visit DHEC’s information page for more information on the vaccines, and the locator page to schedule a vaccine appointment.

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