LOS ANGELES, CA — Comedian and TV host Bill Maher tested positive for COVID-19 despite being fully vaccinated, HBO announced Friday. The positive test prompted HBO to reschedule the taping of his show “Real Time with Bill Maher.”
If the positive COVID-19 test is accurate, Maher would join more than 3,000 Californians who became infected with the coronavirus despite being fully vaccinated.
Maher is “asymptomatic and feels fine,” according to a statement Thursday from HBO. “No other staff or crew members have tested positive at this time,” the channel said.
Maher was tested as part of the Los Angeles production’s weekly protocol for staff, the channel said, adding that “every precaution” is taken in accordance with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines regarding the coronavirus.
It is very rare for people who are fully vaccinated to contract the virus. Such cases dubbed “breakthrough cases” have been documented in less about .024 percent of vaccinated patients in the state.
The California Department of Public Health is continuing the process of reviewing case and vaccine records to identify COVID-19 cases in fully vaccinated persons. So far, out of almost 13.5 million fully vaccinated individuals, 3620 post-vaccination cases have been identified in California between January 1, 2021 and May 5, 2021.
State officials have not said how many of the breakthrough cases have resulted in serious illness or death. Studies have shown that infections among vaccinated people tend to be milder than among unvaccinated patients. Maher may be the most famous person to experience a breakthrough infection.
The taping of Friday’s episode of “Real Time with Bill Maher” will be rescheduled, HBO said. Guests were to include astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson and podcast host Dan Carlin.
The comedian and political gadfly moved back to in-studio shows with a limited audience late last summer, after taping episodes at his home in the early months of the pandemic.
TV and filmmaking gradually resumed after last year’s pandemic-forced shutdown, but despite strict safety rules there have been other production holds caused by a cast or crew member’s positive virus test.
The Associated Press and Patch Staffer Paige Austin and Kat Schuster contributed to this report.