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Coronavirus

Study Illustrates How COVID-19 Can Spread Among Vaccinated

September 22, 2021

NEW YORK — A new study of Texas prison inmates provides more evidence that coronavirus can spread even in groups where most people are vaccinated.

A COVID-19 outbreak at a federal prison in July and August infected 172 male inmates in two prison housing units, according to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report released Tuesday.

About 80% of the inmates in the units had been vaccinated. More than 90% of the unvaccinated inmates wound up being infected, as did 70% of the fully vaccinated prisoners.

Severe illness, however, was more common among the unvaccinated. The hospitalization rate was almost 10 times higher for them compared with those who got the shots.

It echoes research into a July outbreak in Provincetown, Massachusetts, where several hundred people were infected — about three-quarters of whom were fully vaccinated.

Such reports have prompted a renewed push by health officials for even vaccinated people to wear masks and take other precautions. They believe the delta variant, a version of coronavirus that spreads more easily, and possibly waning immunity may be playing a role.

The authors did not identify the prison, but media reports in July detailed a similar-sized outbreak at the federal prison in Texarkana.

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