Fully vaccinated people are testing positive for COVID-19 after visiting Provincetown according to local news. The LGBTQ vacation hotspot has already reported about 20 to 25 cases last week.
What makes this concerning is that “the majority were fully vaccinated” people, according to the Barnstable County Department of Health. These are known as "breakthrough" cases. Those testing positive are only exhibiting mild symptoms of the coronavirus.
Additionally, some cases may not have been reported locally because travelers tested positive after returning to their home states. “Over half of those were people were short term visitors and have gone back home,” Barnstable County Public Health Nurse Deirdre Arvidson. said.
Provincetown, or P-Town as it is nicknamed, is requesting that Massachusetts increase its testing.
“We are aware of a handful of positive COVID cases being reported over the last few days among folks who have spent time in Provincetown,” Town Manager Alex Morse said in a social media statement. “We are in touch with the Health Department and Outer Cape Health Services and are closely monitoring the data.”
Defending the efficacy of the vaccine, Morse assured the public that it works and people who are immunized experience mild symptoms compared to those who are uninoculated. He continued the Facebook post citing a variant of the virus as the culprit.
"The Delta variant now accounts for more than half of the new coronavirus cases in the United States —52%. Almost all of the new cases nationally — 99.7% —are among people who have not been vaccinated."
Tufts Medical Center epidemiologist and infectious disease expert Dr. Shira Doron said that the rise in breakthrough cases is something to monitor but there is no need to panic.
“When you have a very highly immunized population, as is the case with P-Town, and then you have travelers that may be coming from areas that are less well-immunized and maybe even hotspots... that’s going to bring in more infection,” she said.
Doctors and experts have confidence in both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines which they say are 90-percent effective. However, the rising "breakthrough" cases are only being tracked if the affected person is hospitalized or dies. That means comprehensive data on breakthrough cases is limited to non-existent.
Travis Dagenais of South Boston says he is one of the breakthrough cases. He visited Provincetown between July 1 and July 6. After he returned home the COVID symptoms began, starting with a fever. Dagenais says his second Moderna shot was administered in late April.
“I’ve spent the last 16 months with two masks on my face, avoiding friends and family, turning down trips while other friends and family members took them,” Dagenais told Boston 25. “To be one of these breakthrough cases in one of the few moments when I decided to relax my personal standards is very disconcerting.”
Dagenais addressed his current situation on Facebook in a lengthy post. He implores people to still get vaccinated because he believes, in the long run, the protection is better than the alternative.
"Yes, everyone should get the vaccine -- avoid the pitfall of 'but people still get sick anyway!' We objectively know that the vaccine suppresses the severity of the disease," he wrote.