‘I did not expect it to be positive’: Texas teacher tests positive for COVID-19 after getting vaccinated

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AUSTIN (KXAN) — As vaccinations open up to more Texans on Monday with Phase 1C now eligible to get in line, a local teacher says her story illustrates why people should still take COVID-19 safety seriously.

Paige Crain says she tested positive for the coronavirus after getting her shots.

“There is this, this freedom and this joy that comes with getting vaccinated,” said Crain, who got her second Moderna shot in February.

The teacher says she started taking tiny liberties.

“I felt like for the first time in a year I could, you know, take a sip of water under my mask — which I wasn’t doing before,” she said.

But for the most part, Crain says she was still being careful. Her youngest son is high-risk.

That’s why she was surprised about two weeks later when what she thought was a minor cold actually turned out to be COVID-19.

“I did not expect it to be positive, at all,” Crain said.

Paige Crain says her family has been careful throughout the pandemic, especially because her youngest son is in the high-risk category for severe symptoms if he contracts COVID-19. (Photo courtesy Paige Crain)

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it typically takes a few weeks after vaccination for the body to build immunity.

“The effectiveness does not all of a sudden, two weeks after the second dose, all of a sudden you’re immune from being not immune… the previous day. It’s all gradual,” says Dr. Charles Lerner, an infectious disease and control specialist.

Dr. Lerner also says no vaccine is 100% effective.

“It’s simple arithmetic. The vaccine is 95% effective. Translation: One out of 20 people who are vaccinated will have clinical disease,” said Lerner, who is also on the Texas Medical Association’s COVID-19 task force.

The CDC describes the vaccine efficacy rate as the proportionate reduction in disease from a vaccinated group. In the case of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, its 95% efficacy means there’s a 95% reduction of illness among the vaccinated group, or a 95% reduction in expected cases among a that group compared to a group that hasn’t been vaccinated.

Lerner says some people may have genetic mutations that make them more susceptible to the coronavirus or somewhat resistant to the vaccine.

Lerner also says the COVID-19 vaccines are less effective against some of the new coronavirus variants.

Lerner said even if you do contract the virus after vaccination, you’re less likely to pass it on to others or become really sick yourself.

“Your case is likely to be very mild. And so your treatment of choice is Tylenol,” he said, adding that people should get the vaccine as soon as they can.

Crain, who has an underlying condition, says the vaccine has still given her peace of mind.

“It’s not as scary as it would have been; I’m not thinking that I’m going to have to go to the hospital in the next minute,” she said.

But the possibility of contraction is why both she and Lerner say it’s important to keep wearing a mask and social distancing.

“It’s not as bad as it could have been, but I’m still sick, and it’s still a burden to where we’re having to figure out child care and my husband’s watching the kids, and we can’t have the grandparents helping right now,” Crain said.

“We know that masking is the most important, because the masking data shows dramatic reductions in health care workers who are properly masked,” Lerner said.

He says if you contract the coronavirus after getting vaccinated, you shouldn’t try to get another shot. He says that hasn’t been studied so there’s no data to support whether it’s effective.

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