Georgia woman contracts breakthrough COVID-19 infection after vaccination

After seeing thousands of Georgia healthcare workers get vaccinated in late December, 73-year-old Ginger Eatman finally got her turn.

"I was ready," Eatman said.

She received two doses of the Pfizer vaccine.

"The first one was in January, and the second was Feb. 17," Eatman said.


The Dallas, Georgia, IBM retiree hoped getting fully vaccinated would make it easier and safer to perform with the Georgia Festival Chorus, which is her passion.

"I felt that I was more protected," she said. "But, I had certainly learned you have to be super, super, super careful, even after you've had your vaccinations."

Because, almost a month after her second shot, a problem.

"I got a little bit of a scratchy throat, but I attributed it to pollen," Eatman said.

Within a couple of days, Eatman said, she felt like she had a full-blown sinus infection.

Then, she lost her sense of smell.

When she went in for a COVID-19 test, it came back positive.

RELATED: 246 fully vaccinated people have tested positive for COVID-19 in Michigan, officials say

She was stunned.

"I just about cried," she said. "Because we were going to be recording that night for the Georgia Festival Chorus, and that meant I couldn't go. And, it was scary, because I didn't know how sick I was going to get."

New research shows the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines offer a very high level of real-world protection.

For those who are fully vaccinated, or two weeks out from their final dose of the vaccine, the vaccines block 90% of symptomatic infections.

Yet, as new, more contagious variants of the virus surface, Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, says health officials are closely watching breakthrough infections.

"You will see breakthrough infections in any vaccination when you're vaccinating literally tens and tens and tens of millions of people," Dr. Fauci said.  "So, in some respects, that's not surprising. One of the important things that will be done and must be done is to sequence the genome of the virus that is the breakthrough virus."

That will tell us, Dr. Fauci said, whether fully vaccinated people are being infected by the circulating "wild" type of the virus or the new variants.

While she had a breakthrough infection, Eatman believes the vaccine kept her from becoming severely ill or hospitalized.

She recently ended her isolation and is feeling better.

Going forward, Eatman said she will be careful, wearing a mask to the grocery store and using the hand sanitizer her daughter recommended she carry with her.

"People need to know that just because you have the two shots doesn't mean that your free," she says.


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