In Massachusetts, 162 people who had been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 have died from the disease, the Department of Public Health reported Tuesday, representing a tiny fraction of all vaccinated people and underscoring the protection the vaccines provide against severe illness and death.
The deaths accounted for 0.004 percent of the 4,531,700 people in Massachusetts who were fully vaccinated, the department said in its weekly update on breakthrough COVID-19 metrics, which included data reported through Tuesday.
The number marks an increase of 18 deaths from last week, when the state reported that 144 fully vaccinated people had died as a result of the virus as of Aug. 28.
The department on Tuesday also said there had been 23,858 total breakthrough cases among fully vaccinated people in Massachusetts, or 0.53percent of all fully vaccinated people. That marks an increase of 4,415 cases among fully vaccinated people from the previous week.
The department also reported 762 hospitalizations, representing 0.02 percent of all fully vaccinated people.
The state said that among the 144 breakthrough COVID-19 deaths reported as of Aug. 31, the median age of those who died was 81.2 years. In 73 percent of the deaths, the patients had underlying medical conditions that made them more likely to get seriously ill.
Among the 651 breakthrough hospitalizations reported last week, the median age of those hospitalized was 71.1 years, and in 54 percent of the hospitalizations, the patients had underlying conditions.
As of Tuesday, 4,531,700 people in Massachusetts have been fully vaccinated, according to the department.
State officials and public health experts have repeatedly stressed that vaccination greatly reduces hospitalization, severe illness, and death as a result of COVID-19.