MONTGOMERY, Ala (WRBL) – The COVID-19 pandemic has brought question after question over the past 17 months. The latest question; how does someone who’s fully vaccinated still get COVID-19?

Which begs the next question; what’s the point of a vaccine if a breakthrough case is still possible? Alabama’s top health official Dr. Scott Harris says no vaccine is 100 percent effective, but argues the COVID-19 vaccine is still worth the shot.

“These vaccines are anywhere from 70 to 90 something percent effective and that’s among the best vaccines we have for anything, the Flu vaccine is nowhere near that effective,” says Harris.

Out of the 1.6 million Alabamians who are fully vaccinated, Dr. Harris says his office has only found roughly 8,700 breakthrough COVID-19 cases. In addition, his office says the percent of fully vaccinated people who have died of COVID-19 is 0.001 percent.

“The vaccines are doing even better than we had hoped,” says Harris.

Dr. Harris says not only do vaccines potentially prevent infections, but they can also prevent serious illnesses if infected, which in some cases could mean a matter of life or death.

“That’s why they’re important, they just don’t prevent infections, they usually do prevent infections, but in those cases where they don’t, they prevent you from getting really sick or dying. If you’re vaccinated verses not vaccinated, if you get infected today, your chances of dying if your unvaccinated are about 300 times your chances of dying if you’re vaccinated,” said Harris.

Dr. Harris wants to remind folks, this isn’t the first time we’re talking about breakthrough cases, noting this is a similar conversation when discussing the Flu vaccine and its level of effectiveness.

“We know the flu vaccine is not anywhere near 100% effective, we’re lucky if it’s 50% effective. But we know that people who get the Flu vaccine, who do happen to get the Flu anyway, do a lot better, you know, they don’t get as sick, you do get some benefits from doing that.”

If someone is still on the fence about getting the vaccine, Dr. Harris says talking to your local doctor would be the best next step.

“We think that the person that you know personally, that you go and seek health care from in normal times, is the best person to answer your questions. That said, I think they’re going to tell you to get the vaccine,” said Harris.

To learn more about the COVID-19 vaccine and to schedule an appointment in Alabama, click here.