A woman from Long Island in New York tested positive for COVID-19 despite being fully vaccinated, according to a recent report from Health.
Melanie Rosen, a Hewlett-Woodmere School District employee, received the two shots of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine on Jan. 17 and Feb. 20. She attended the wake of a friend’s father on March 15 without wearing a mask. Rosen recalled staying there for over an hour and hugging the 10 or so family members present.
The night after the wake, Rosen had a stuffy nose. She said she thought it was related to her allergies. However, she began feeling body aches as well. Her legs were particularly affected, which led her to believe the aches were due to sitting for long periods at work.
She later learned that three of her friend’s family members who were at the wake tested positive for COVID-19. She went to get tested on March 19, and her results came back positive on March 22. Rosen said she was shocked that she was part of the 4.9 percent that received the Moderna vaccine and still became infected.
Since testing positive, Rosen’s case has been mild. She said her legs hurt the week after she received her results but that the aches have since disappeared. However, her stuffy nose remained.
Rosen said she hopes what happened to her would serve as a reminder to others that COVID-19 is still a threat. “You can still get it; you can probably still spread it,” she warned. “I want people to know it’s not over.”
Rare but possible
Rosen is one of the handfuls of people who still became infected with the coronavirus following vaccination. But while such cases of infection are rare, health experts emphasize that they are still very much possible. This isn’t surprising since none of the coronavirus vaccines approved for use offer 100 percent protection.
Based on the results of clinical trials, Moderna said its vaccine is 94.1 percent effective in preventing COVID-19 cases with symptoms. Meanwhile, the COVID-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE is 95 percent effective in preventing symptomatic cases, as per the results of clinical trials.
In another “breakthrough” case of a person testing positive for COVID-19 after getting vaccinated, a Minnesota nurse was forced to quarantine in a hotel in Mexico after she tested positive for COVID-19. (Related: 51 Recovered patients in South Korea test positive AGAIN for coronavirus.)
Diane Schmidt flew to Mexico as part of her daughter’s senior trip. She took the required COVID-19 test so she can be cleared to return to the United States. When her results came back positive, Schmidt was ordered to quarantine in a hotel. She had to pay the hotel’s $30 “COVID-19 insurance” to stay for 14 days in the room.
Schmidt said she was vaccinated prior to the trip. In fact, she was the only one vaccinated in the group of people she stayed with during the trip. She was also the only one to test positive before their return flight.
Schmidt said she hopes her case would be a lesson for other people who are considering travel. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) had recently updated its travel guidance for fully vaccinated individuals, saying that they can travel in the U.S. and abroad.
Because the vaccines are not 100 percent effective, health experts continue to stress the importance of wearing masks and following health protocols like practicing social distancing and avoiding indoor gatherings.
“Vaccinated individuals shouldn’t put themselves at risk of contracting COVID-19,” said Charles Bailey, medical director of infection prevention at St. Joseph Hospital and Mission Hospital in Orange County, California.
Recent guidelines from the CDC state that fully vaccinated individuals can gather indoors with other fully vaccinated individuals without wearing a mask. However, fully vaccinated individuals are still advised to mask up in public. They should also practice social distancing and avoid crowds and poorly ventilated spaces.
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