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Who’s still getting sick and ending up in the hospital with COVID-19? The data shows us it’s not people who have already been vaccinated.

COVID-19 vaccines are saving lives in Pierce County and across the country. As more people get vaccinated, case rates decline, hospitalizations decrease, and the number of COVID-19 deaths drop.

In addition, the extremely small number of breakthrough cases tell us almost all of the people who are sick or hospitalized with COVID-19 are unvaccinated.

It’s one more reason to get vaccinated against a virus that’s killed 577 in Pierce County.

COVID-19 vaccines help reverse a dangerous course.

About 56% of people 16 or older have had one dose of COVID-19 vaccine in Pierce County. The data shows us vaccines work. Since the COVID-19 vaccination effort started  in December 2020, our 14-day case rate reversed course, dropping from a peak of 523 per 100,000 in early January to 172.2 for May 14-27. That’s the lowest rate since early November.

Outbreaks at long-term care facilities, once numbering more than 1,000, have sharply declined. People living and working there were among the first to be vaccinated. COVID-19 deaths in Pierce County fell from 126 in December to 29 in April. Vaccinations played a key role in these falling numbers. People following COVID-19 safety guidelines also played a role.

Breakthrough numbers are very small.

No vaccine is 100% effective. Breakthrough cases–when a fully vaccinated person tests positive for COVID-19 more than two weeks after the final dose–happen, but they are rare. A tiny percentage of fully vaccinated people get sick with COVID-19, become hospitalized or die. State and national numbers back that up.

Recent Washington Department of Health statistics tell us that out of 3.1 million vaccinated,  1,471 breakthrough cases occurred. Of those cases, 23 people died. That’s about .0007%, or 1 in 134,782. Half  were 84 or older.

In addition, both the Washington Department of Health and the CDC report extremely low rates of COVID-19 breakthrough cases, hospitalizations and deaths among vaccinated people. Washington Secretary of Health Dr. Umair A. Shah recently said hospital admission rates in those 45-64 who have not been vaccinated are 21 times higher than those who are fully vaccinated.

The state does not include geographic information in their report on breakthrough cases. But the Pierce County data is consistent with state and national statistics.

So, the vast majority of those getting sick, being hospitalized or dying from COVID-19 are people who have not been vaccinated.

More ways to get vaccinated.

Vaccines are helping us get back to the things we enjoy. Vaccinated people are taking off their masks. Families and friends are getting  together. Restaurants and businesses are seeing more customers.  And now, breakthrough numbers confirm vaccines  are effective at preventing sickness and death from COVID-19. The vaccines are our best path out of this pandemic.

Finding your free vaccine is easier than ever. Most sites in Pierce County have all 3 types of vaccines, so you can choose. You can register for your vaccine at or come to any of the clinics we list. You don’t need an appointment. You don’t need insurance or ID.

You can walk-up or drive-thru at clinics around Pierce County. If you work during the day, some offer evening and weekend hours.

If you need help finding vaccine, sign up online for our COVID-19 Vaccine Help List. Or just call us at (253) 649-1412, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., 7 days a week!

We can help anyone 12 years or older find:

  • Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
  • First and second doses.
  • Appointments at healthcare facilities, pharmacies and vaccine events.
  • Walk-up and drive-thru events.
  • Help with transportation to appointments and events.
  • Mobility assistance and language support at appointments and events.
  • In-home vaccine if you can’t easily leave home.

Learn more at


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