Wake County mom, fully vaccinated, recalls battling breakthrough COVID case for almost 2 weeks

Coronavirus

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Fewer than 1 percent of fully vaccinated people in North Carolina have come down with COVID-19, according to state data.

A Garner mom is among the few who not only ended up with a breakthrough case, but one that made her pretty sick. Still, she said she’s grateful she got the vaccine.

Many people who come down with COVID-19 after being vaccinated have no symptoms or cold-like symptoms. Jennifer Rowell — who is 44 years old, vaccinated, and has no underlying conditions — was surprised at how hard COVID-19 hit.

Rowell could hardly wait to get her COVID-19 shot. She was vaccinated in March, and although she knew vaccinated people could still get the virus, she didn’t worry too much about it.

Five months had passed since her vaccine when she came down with COVID-19 late last month.

“The headache I had was unbearable,” she said. “Ibuprofen didn’t touch it.”

She had body aches and stomach issues, as well.

“I also had days and nights when it’s like I couldn’t catch my breath,” she recalled. “It felt like, unfortunately, the flu on steroids, plus a stomach virus.

She was sick for 10 to 12 days. Halfway through her illness, she said she got a monoclonal antibody treatment to help fight the virus.

“I think that helped me turn a corner that I wasn’t turning on my own,” she said.

She’s grateful her husband and college-age kids were away, so they weren’t exposed. Her 8-year-old son did test positive. He didn’t get very sick, but it meant a long time in quarantine.

“He missed three weeks of school,” she said. “At first I was like, ‘Wow. This seems like a really long time,’ but now I get it. I mean, he tested positive close to the end of my quarantine, so if I would’ve sent him back to school, he could’ve spread it.”

According to the state’s latest data, 18 percent of new COVID-19 cases occurred in fully vaccinated people. The health department said these cases are generally less severe than in unvaccinated people.

Despite her experience, Rowell said she’s glad she had her shots.

“I still feel like I was protected. I didn’t end up in the hospital,” she said. “It actually scares me to think what it could’ve been like without the vaccine.”

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