‘Breakthrough’ COVID cases after vaccination becoming more common

WAVE 3 News anchor Dawne Gee’s sister discussed being a breakthrough case despite getting her shot
Published: Jul. 21, 2021 at 4:49 PM EDT|Updated: Jul. 21, 2021 at 8:15 PM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - People are contracting COVID despite having been vaccinated, which is known as a “breakthrough case” according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Pamela Smith, WAVE 3 News Anchor Dawne Gee’s sister, is a breakthrough case.

“I’m one of the last people I thought would be in this situation,” Smith said.

Smith is fully vaccinated. She said she got the COVID vaccine because she knows how dangerous the virus can be.

“I’ve lost friends to COVID,” Smith said. “I’m not trying to leave this Earth before my time.”

Smith admitted she let her guard down and went to a social event with her son and his friends.

“I’m hugging everyone like things are back to normal,” Smith said.

(Story continues below photo)

WAVE 3 News anchor Dawne Gee’s sister, Pamela Smith, discussed being a breakthrough case...
WAVE 3 News anchor Dawne Gee’s sister, Pamela Smith, discussed being a breakthrough case despite getting her COVID-19 vaccine.(Family photo)

Smith said someone she was around ended up being positive for COVID. She got tested to be safe, and her results came back positive, too. So far, her only symptom is a bad cough.

“That cough came from the bottom of my lung,” Smith said. “I thought, ‘I cannot imagine someone who has zero protection didn’t have the vaccine who has full blown COVID coughing like this for weeks.”

Dr. Jon Klein with UofL Health said cases like Smith’s are to be expected.

“That’s almost certainly due to this Delta variant,” Klein said.

The good news is that breakthrough cases of the coronavirus tend to be milder, according to Klein. However, there is a small percentage of people who end up hospitalized or even die due to complications.

“Remember, (vaccines) aren’t firewalls that protect us 100% from the fire,” he said. “They are kind of like fire retardants. They slow it down and keep us from getting very, very sick.”

Vaccinations do not need to be abandoned because of breakthrough cases, Klein said.

“There are people who will say why should I bother? The answer is you should absolutely bother because the vaccines are much more protective than simply taking your chances and they are much more protective than if you have already had the disease,” Klein said.

As for Smith, she said she doesn’t regret getting the vaccine.

“The vaccine did what it was supposed to do,” Smith said. “I’m not in the hospital. When this is over, I will go back to wearing my mask.”

Klein said as far as antibodies, those who have had the previous forms of the virus that were circulating early on are not fully protected from the Delta variant. He said it is still important to be careful or wear a mask in enclosed spaces, even if a person is vaccinated, especially if they do not know the vaccination status of those around them.

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