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Pittsburgh doctor weighs in on breakthrough COVID-19 cases

PITTSBURGH — A local doctor is weighing in after Allegheny County leaders claimed that vaccinated individuals have accounted for nearly 20 percent of recent COVID cases

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Allegheny Health Network Physician Dr. Randolph Peters told Channel 11 that in the last week, he’s seen about 8 vaccinated patients who contracted COVID-19. He suspects each “breakthrough” individual caught the Delta variant.

“I think Delta is really just a much, much stronger virus,” Peters said, “The vaccine is no less effective than it ever was, now it’s just facing something new.”

Peters noted that “breakthrough” cases were always expected, considering none of the available vaccines have 100 percent efficacy rates.

Peters said “breakthrough” patients seem to have the standard COVID-19 symptoms, but on a milder scale.

“People who have been vaccinated are at much less risk, have much less severe outcomes and are much less likely to be hospitalized or die,” he said.

Dr. Peters told Channel 11 it’s unclear if a booster vaccine would better protect against the Delta variant versus a modified vaccine created specifically for it. In any case, he believes it’s most important to get shots for the unvaccinated.

“If you don’t take care of the unvaccinated, if you don’t eliminate the breeding ground for this disease, then it doesn’t matter how strong a booster is,” he told us.