Nursing home staff gets vaccinated. (Ronni Newton / photo)

Connecticut has seen three deaths of individuals who were vaccinated for COVID-19, according to the Department of Public Health. 

These deaths are called breakthrough deaths and all three individuals were confirmed to have underlying medical conditions and all were over the age of 55. Nationally, the CDC has reported a total of 132 vaccine breakthrough deaths.

Of the more than 1.4 million Connecticut residents who are now fully vaccinated, 242 later became infected with COVID-19 and of those 109 had no symptoms of the disease. 

DPH also announced that of the 242 breakthrough cases:

• 159 (65.7%) cases were among women

• 58 (24%) cases occurred among persons living in congregate settings (i.e. – nursing homes, assisted living facilities)

• 32 (13.2%) cases have been hospitalized

“The main takeaway is that COVID-19 vaccines are highly effective and cases of infection after a person is fully vaccinated are very rare.  The best protection against severe illness, hospitalization and death from COVID-19 is vaccination, and I strongly urge all eligible Connecticut residents who have not yet gotten vaccinated to do so,” Acting DPH Commissioner Dr. Deidre Gifford said. 

The news comes as Connecticut sees 70% of adults with at least one COVID-19 shot. 

While the state still ranks high nationally for its overall vaccination rate, Connecticut has not been immune to slipping demand for shots. Data reported to the CDC shows the number of new vaccinations in the past week was less than half the number in the first week of April. 

“The vaccine is our most powerful tool against COVID-19, but these rare instances of infection after vaccination are a reminder that no vaccine is 100% effective,” Gifford said. “As long as we continue to see cases of COVID in Connecticut, it is important  to continue the use of the other tools at our disposal:  masking when indoors and in large outdoor crowds, hand washing, social distancing, and limiting gathering sizes when vaccination status is unknown.”

As of Friday, 8,137 Connecticut residents have died from the virus and more than 342.718 have tested positive. There were about 309 people hospitalized. 

In the next few days, Lamont will lift most of the remaining restrictions that have been in place over the past year. Every single of one of them impacting businesses, except indoor masking. 

The mask mandate will likely continue in the state’s elementary, middle and high schools through the end of the school year in June, and in crowded public places, Lamont has said. 

Lamont’s executive powers expire on May 20. He’s been meeting with legislative leaders to discuss which executive orders they would like to stay in place and whether they should codify them or extend his executive powers longer.