TAMPA, Fla. - Out of the millions of Americans fully vaccinated against COVID-19, the CDC said breakthrough cases are a very small portion of them -- and a Tampa doctor said she was among one of them.
Tampa pediatrician Dr. Robin Hauser said she got the Pfizer vaccine in December before Christmas and received her second shot three weeks later.
"I was really tired, had a sore arm, was a little achy after my second dose," said Hauser.
Then at the end of February, she said her daughter and son got COVID, so she stayed home to care for them and knew she was fully vaccinated to protect her.
When she did return to work, she found out she tested positive for the virus, too.
"Yeah, just kind of like what the heck? I bought the test out to my colleagues, and said ‘I’m positive what am I going to do now?’" said Hauser. "We really kind of had to look it up and see because we really hadn’t heard of anybody who had been positive after the vaccine."
Florida State University infectious diseases researcher Dr. Michael Muscynski said it’s called a breakthrough infection.
"When they do the studies for these vaccines, they’re not 100 percent effective. They’re very protective in many ways, but they’re not 100%," said Muscynski. "For example, Pfizer and the Moderna vaccine are 90% to 95% protective from getting ill, but there are still going to be 5% to 10% of people who get the disease."
Last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported 5,814 breakthrough cases out of more than 85 million people fully vaccinated in the U.S. Public health experts said those numbers show how well the vaccine protects you if you develop symptoms.
"These vaccines are all nearly close to 100% protective of keeping you out of the hospital and dying no matter what age you are," said Muscynski.
Hauser said she’s thankful the vaccine worked because she had a milder case. She believes her experience shows how important it is to keep your guard up even after you get the vaccine.
"As a pediatrician, I think your patients teach you lessons, and I also think fate teaches you lessons. And the lesson I learned from that was just, I tell my patients now, ‘yeah, you’re vaccinated but it doesn’t mean you can just go back to normal,’" said Hauser. "This is why we need to continue to be vigilant and wear masks and socially distanced, to make sure we continued to protect others. Just because COVID doesn’t seem to follow many rules just when we think we know what it’s going to do, it does something different."
The CDC said breakthrough cases are a very small portion of the millions of people vaccinated, and the CDC and public health experts recommend getting the vaccine.