Delta and Me: I’m Fully Vaccinated and Still Got a Breakthrough COVID-19 Infection
I’m frustrated that I relaxed into a false sense of security, but things could have been much worse if I hadn’t been vaxxed.
I’m one of the double-vaccinated breakthrough cases that are becoming less and less rare as the Delta variant rips through the U.S. I wanted to share my experience because I’ve had little luck finding first-person accounts from those with breakthrough infections, and I’d like to serve as a warning for those who may have relaxed into the false sense of security as I did.
I got the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine in March 2021 and the second dose just shy of one month later in April. Prior to being vaccinated, I was extraordinarily vigilant about masking and quarantining to the point of neurosis. I had not eaten or gathered with friends in any indoor setting since the first lockdown and felt such an immense weight lifted off of my shoulders. I was more than hesitant to accept that we could now roam free and maskless, but all official sources said it was safe to do so—especially the governor of my home state, Ron DeSantis, who now still refuses to acknowledge the efficacy of masking. I’m kicking myself for the naive optimism of believing that we were getting a fairy-tale resolution and had put this COVID business to rest, but I did proceed with a pre-COVID kind of lifestyle, unmasked and all.
Even though Florida is the renewed hotspot for the virus, I didn’t believe I had a breakthrough infection since the majority of news sources were saying how rare they were—three days ago, I read it was only .04 percent; now, most say a more vague “less than one percent.”
A Timeline of My Symptoms
I can’t say exactly where or when I was infected, but I suspect it was at a large indoor club in Orlando, Florida, turning up to DJ Diesel, aka Shaquille O’Neal, who was spinning some crazy dubstep on July 23. I’d had a few drinks that evening, so I didn't think too much about the dull headache and fatigue I woke up with the next day. By late Sunday evening, the fatigue and headache had not subsided, and I began to suspect I may be coming down with a little something. Out of an abundance of caution, I went and got a COVID test on July 25. That test came back negative, and I breathed a huge sigh of relief.
However, on July 26, a more serious sinus infection seemed to take hold. My headache grew in intensity. I developed a dry cough and felt pretty ill overall. I suspected I had a fever but didn’t have a reliable thermometer to confirm. Given the earlier negative COVID test, I thought that I was just fighting off a viral sinus infection. From the 26th to the 31st, I quarantined in my bedroom and let the worst of the infection pass. During the worst of it, I got extremely congested and had a bad, dry cough as my main symptoms. I would liken it to a bad cold or light flu.
On the 30th, I was feeling significantly better, despite still having this dull headache, and believed I’d be fine in no time, but then curiously on the 31st, I woke up with absolutely no sense of smell. I went around the house smelling things like my deodorant, toothpaste, coffee, onions—there’s no way to describe how freaky it felt to not detect anything at all. I could still taste food, albeit a bit duller than before, but this was when the alarm bells started to ring.
It could be COVID.
Without the Vaccine, This Could Have Been Worse
I scheduled another COVID test for Monday, August 2, which was the soonest I could get a PCR test, and continued to isolate. My sinus infection and flu-like symptoms have continued to subside, but I did start to have strange fever dreams and new waves of unexplained chills.
I finally received confirmation late in the evening of August 3 that I was positive for COVID. My sense of smell has already started to return, though it’s still dull, and I feel mostly fine except for this ever-present, dull headache and a cough that has turned a bit more productive. The most maddening part is this long-lasting headache.
I believe wholeheartedly that without the vaccine, my infection would have been much worse. I am very frustrated that I allowed myself to relax into such a false sense of security as the alarm bells were blaring across Florida, but I am also grateful that I haven’t experienced any real respiratory issues. My concerns now are centered on the vague information available about how long I need to be isolated, how long I will be contagious and the level of precaution I must take so that I don’t accidentally infect my friends or family.
Per the CDC, I’m supposed to spend the next ten days in isolation, and then get another test. But the CDC instruction is constantly evolving, and we’ve seen it fall very short of the mark more than a few times during the last two years. I do also fear the long-term, unknown consequences of this virus. Will I have some heart or lung condition emerge 10 to 20 years from now? Will I find myself disabled or worse?
For those still politicizing this virus and refusing to take the absolutely simplest of precautions, I have no sympathy if you end up on a ventilator. It’s just not that hard to wear a mask and get a couple of shots in the arm. In fact, I wish our medical system could deny care to those who willingly shirked these basic solutions. After doing everything I was supposed to do and still catching the virus, I’ve lost all patience for the borderline brain-dead Facebook, anti-vax Karen moms and Ken dads of this nation. You want to speak to a manager? You’ll be speaking to the big manager upstairs soon enough if you don’t get your ass vaxxed.