HUDSON — Columbia County has two COVID cases in residents who were vaccinated against the virus, the Columbia County Department of Health confirmed Thursday.
“We now officially have two people,” Department of Health Director Jack Mabb said. “This is something they have been talking about at the national level. Not surprising, but we have two people who have both doses of the vaccine and have now tested positive for the virus.”
The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines require a two-dose regimen and inoculated individuals are not considered fully vaccinated until two weeks after their second dose. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine requires a single dose.
Receiving both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine does not mean you cannot get the virus, Mabb said.
The vaccine helps limit the severity of the virus if you do become infected after being inoculated and hospitalization rates are lower in vaccinated individuals.
“It’s no different from the flu — you can still get the flu after you get the flu shot,” Mabb said. “But it does allow it to not be as serious if you do get it.”
The two confirmed cases are people in their 60s and Mabb said neither has a serious case of the virus.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website states the vaccines teach the immune system to recognize and fight the virus that causes COVID-19. It typically takes two weeks after vaccination for the body to build immunity against the virus.
A person is considered fully vaccinated two weeks after they have received their second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, and Mabb said both individuals fit this criteria.
Cases of individuals testing positive for the virus after becoming fully vaccinated have been reported nationally and it is likely there will be more moving forward, Mabb said.
Widespread vaccination means the virus will not infect as many people and will restrict the virus’s opportunity to continue to mutate into new variants, according to the CDC.
The state COVID-19 Vaccine Tracker website reports that statewide about 20.4% of the population have received at least their first dose of the vaccine and about 10.4% have received their second dose. The tracker reports 13,770 Columbia County residents have received at least their first dose and 6,303 have received their second dose. In Greene County 8,629 residents received at least one dose and 4,025 received completed the vaccine series as of Thursday.
Earlier this week New York state changed eligibility requirements for vaccinations, lowering the age from 65 to 60 years old.
On Wednesday the Columbia County Department of Health announced it will receive an additional 600 doses of the vaccine and are planning a 300-dose POD, or point of distribution, for people 60 and older. Planning is still in the works for the disposition of the remaining 300 doses. It is not yet known when that POD will be held or which cateegory of eligible individuals will be inoculated.
The Columbia County Department of Health has reported 3,613 positive COVID cases since the beginning of the pandemic. There are 62 active positive cases in the county and 252 residents under mandatory quarantine with 15 hospitalized with the virus including four in the intensive care unit. Since the beginning of the pandemic the Department of Health has reported 88 COVID-related deaths.
The state COVID vaccine web page states receiving the vaccine cannot give a person the virus. The first vaccines authorized for emergencies by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration use a small, harmless part of the virus’ genetic material called mRNA and that is not the virus, according to the website.
Vaccines utilizing mRNA teach the body to create virus proteins. The immune system develops antibodies against these proteins that will help fight the virus that causes COVID-19 if the person is exposed to it.