Monroe Hall in Forrest County and Landmark Care in Covington County ard causing real concern among medical professionals because they are where ten fully vaccinated nursing home residents in Mississippi have been infected with the South African B.1.351 variant strain of COVID-19, the Mississippi State Department of Health reported on Thursday.
Of the 10 infected, two required hospitalization and one died.
“Although one death is extremely unfortunate, the fact that most of these cases have had minimal to no symptoms in highly vulnerable individuals is extremely encouraging,” MSDH State Epidemiologist Dr. Paul Byers said in a press release.
“The vaccines currently available provide excellent protection against severe disease. While these illnesses are caused by variant strains, the outcomes of all these cases would likely be much more severe if they were not vaccinated.”
These breakout cases, where a vaccinated person is infected more than two weeks after their final vaccine dose, are exceedingly rare.
The question on the minds if many now, is “how many variants are there going to be”? And in a state where testing has been lacking, officials are concerned that residents will pass on the vaccine fearing the variants will make it obsolete.
So far there have been 254 breakthrough cases reported in Mississippi out of more than 844,000 fully vaccinated Mississippians.
The unprecedented vaccine effort has been extremely successful, with a significant reduction in transmission in those vaccinated – especially in long-term care settings..
As of May 21, there have been 554 COVID-19 variant cases reported in Mississippi, most of which are the UK variant.
Outside of long-term care settings, the MSDH has also identified three cases of the Indian B.1.
The investigation into the cases is ongoing, but at least two are directly associated with travelers from India and Nepal.