SCOTTSDALE, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) – Months after getting the vaccine, a Scottsdale couple said they still tested positive for COVID-19. Doctors call these breakthrough cases.
“It was headache, a little congestion, a little achy feeling,” said Mike Lefkowitz.
Although he had the COVID-19 vaccine back in February, he took a test for the virus when he felt ill. “I was pretty shocked when the test came back and said that I had COVID,” said Lefkowitz. “It was totally unexpected.”
His vaccinated wife, Janice Friebaum, also tested positive for the virus, with similar symptoms. “I guess I was just assuming we were going to slip through this pandemic okay, but it finally hit home,” said Friebaum.
ER Doctor Murtaza Akhter said breakthrough cases are very rare. “Only part of it is a variant effect because there are more variants right now,” said Akhter. “Some of it is just viruses will break through. This isn’t a complete immunity that this vaccine can provide. It’s not 100%.”
Among the more than 3 million people fully vaccinated in Arizona, The AZ Department of Health Services said 2,340 vaccine breakthrough cases have been confirmed in the state from Jan. 22 through June 18.
AZDHS: More than 1,300 vaccinated Arizonans still got COVID-19
Of the 1,397 individuals reached for follow-up, ADHS said 236 had been hospitalized, and 15 fully vaccinated Arizonans who died were found to have COVID-19.
ADHS said symptomatic vaccine breakthrough cases will often be less severe than cases in people who are not vaccinated, and asymptomatic infections among vaccinated people can occur.
Friebaum and Lefkowitz believe the vaccine made their illness less severe. “I think our experience is a cautionary tale for people that, one, being vaccinated is a very good thing,” said Friebaum.
“The fact it is a breakthrough and that I have been pretty cautious as my wife has been, was very upsetting,” said Lefkowitz.
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