Fully vaccinated North Texas doctor gets COVID-19 breakthrough infection

A North Texas doctor says the COVID vaccine likely saved his life.

The retired physician became one of the rare breakthrough cases.

A few days into his vacation to Provincetown, Massachusetts, Dr. Brady Allen began feeling sick. He and his husband were both fully vaccinated, so the 67-year-old retired physician thought it was allergies up until his symptoms got worse.

Upon his return to Dallas, Allen tested positive for COVID. His husband was negative.

"I was getting more and more symptomatic with persistent fever, severe cough, profound fatigue, the most severe body aches. I didn't want to get out of bed," he said.

Allen says he leads an active lifestyle but is mildly obese and suffers from hypertension. His infectious disease physician prescribed an infusion of monoclonal antibodies thought to prevent the progression of the disease.

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"And I have to say 24 hours later, it made a difference. I felt much better," he said. 

Dr. Katelyn Jetelina is an epidemiologist not involved in Allen's care. She says the number of breakthrough cases with severe symptoms remains rare.

"We knew they were going to happen. What I'm more concerned about right now is the rate of transmission," she said. "Unfortunately, people with immunocompromised body system, age, other chronic conditions can really influence the severity of that breakthrough case. And so we really want those populations to continue this and stay safe right now."

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Allen believes the combination of the COVID vaccine and infusion saved his life. He has a strong message for those who refuse to get vaccinated.

"Quit being selfish. If you don't want to protect yourself, at least protect your friends and your family and your colleagues," he said. "Get off the couch and do something about it before you get sick. You're going to die."

Dr. Jetelina says the highly contagious delta variant is the cause for most of the breakthrough cases. Transmission rates are really high right now. She says the covid vaccine is still your best defense from getting seriously ill or dying.