The CDC has not updated its breakthrough case data since September. A full two months ago.
Earlier in 2021, the agency reported a total count of breakthrough infections, hospitalizations, and deaths—then switched to reporting only those breakthrough cases leading to hospitalization or death in May.
The page that used to house this data now no longer includes total case counts; instead, the CDC redirects users to a couple of other pages:
- Cases and deaths by vaccination status, which includes data from April 4 to September 4, 2021 (compiled from 16 U.S. jurisdictions)
- COVID-19 vaccine effectiveness, which includes data from February to September 2021 (compiled from five national monitoring systems)
- Hospitalizations by vaccination status, which includes data from January to September 2021 (updated on November 18, but still, that’s a long lag time!)
The CDC and FDA expanded booster shot eligibility to all adults in part because of increasing COVID-19 cases across the country. But without comprehensive breakthrough case data, as I’ve said numerous times, it’s hard to pinpoint exactly how well the vaccines are working—and who’s most at risk of a breakthrough case.
MedPage Today, which published a detailed article on this topic, received a statement from the CDC claiming that the breakthrough case and death data will be updated “in mid-November, to reflect data through October 2.” This long lag is due to the time it takes for the CDC to link case surveillance records to vaccination records, the agency said.
Almost a year into the U.S.’s COVID-19 vaccination campaign, you’d really think our national public health system would have a better way of monitoring breakthrough cases by now.