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Fully Vaccinated New Orleans Woman Dies of COVID Aged 33 in Rare Breakthrough Case

Newsweek logo Newsweek 7/27/2021 Aatif Sulleyman
a close up of a person: Flags are left at the COVID-19 memorial in Lafayette Square on January 19, 2021 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Vaccines protect the vast majority of people from the virus, but a small number will remain vulnerable. © Erika Goldring/Getty Images Flags are left at the COVID-19 memorial in Lafayette Square on January 19, 2021 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Vaccines protect the vast majority of people from the virus, but a small number will remain vulnerable.

A 33-year-old woman who was fully vaccinated against COVID-19 has died from the virus in a rare "breakthrough" case.

Angelle Mosley, from New Orleans, Louisiana, passed away on Sunday after falling ill on Thursday.

She had been convinced that she didn't have COVID-19, according to her mother, because she had been fully vaccinated and wasn't experiencing some of the key symptoms of the virus, such as loss of taste and smell.

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"She said 'I know I do not have COVID. I still can smell and taste. And I am vaccinated.' But when she got to the hospital, [it] turns out she had it," Tara Mosley told WDSU News.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that fully vaccinated people are "much less likely" to be infected with COVID-19, but that a "small percentage of people" will still contract the virus.

It calls these rare incidents "vaccine breakthrough cases."

As of July 19, 2021, more than 161 million people in the U.S. had been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, and the CDC had received reports of 5,914 vaccine breakthrough cases.

Of those, 1,141 fully vaccinated people had died from COVID-19, and of 5,601 had been hospitalized.

Some 292 (26%) of those who died, and 1,529 (27%) of those who were hospitalized, were initially reported as asymptomatic.

The CDC says that these figures "likely are an undercount."

Mosley, who had launched her first business in June, texted her mother last Thursday, complaining about feeling unwell. She visited a hospital the same day, before being diagnosed and released.

Her neighbor took her back to the hospital in the early hours of Sunday morning when her condition deteriorated.

Mosley told her mother that she had pneumonia and a high fever. She died later that day.

The Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines are the three that are currently authorized for emergency use in the U.S., and the CDC says that all three offer protection against "most" variants of the virus.

Some variants, however, may cause breakthrough cases.

"While these vaccines are effective, no vaccine prevents illness 100% of the time. For any vaccine, there are breakthrough cases," the CDC says.

The public health agency says it is working with state and local health departments to investigate COVID-19 vaccine breakthrough cases, but says it has yet to identify any unusual patterns.

The Mosley family has urged people to continue wearing face masks and getting vaccinated, and Tara Mosley has also recommended living a healthy lifestyle.

"One of the things that I will say contributed to her death, Angelle was large for her age. She was obese," she said, referring to the fact that people with underlying health conditions are more vulnerable to the worst effects of the virus.

COVID cases are on the rise in nearly 90 percent of jurisdictions across the U.S., with the Delta Variant accounting for more than 80 percent of recent cases.

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