SMITHFIELD, N.C. (WNCN) – As chief medical officer for Johnston Health, Dr. Rodney McCaskill has spent a lot of time around COVID-19 patients.

He’s managed to avoid infection for nearly two years, but when he was home for the holidays, the virus found its way to his family.

“My son came in for the holidays and drove all night from Florida and didn’t know he was sick,” McCaskill said. “Probably about three or four days after he developed symptoms, I got just a really dry throat for a couple of days and then for maybe three hours I felt a little achy in my joints.”

At first, he thought it was a cold.

“I guess I just was in denial,” he said. “I didn’t think it would be COVID; I felt really well.”

But a COVID-19 test came back positive, and the virus had already spread through the family.

“You definitely can see a big difference in the vaccinated family members and the unvaccinated,” he noted.

Dr. McCaskill, who’s vaccinated and boosted, says COVID-19 really didn’t interrupt his life – except for keeping him home.

“I was able to do yard work and painting and those sort of things,” he said.

His son, who initially got sick, was vaccinated early last year, but didn’t get a booster.

“He had two or three days of fever, chills, just no energy,” McCaskill explained. “I have another son, I had tried to talk him into getting the vaccine. He never did get the vaccine, and he had a pretty bad case – high fevers, almost bedridden for three or four days, bad cough.”

He says his youngest children had 103-degree fevers for a few days and have fully recovered

Despite getting infected Dr. McCaskill says his vaccines and booster did their jobs, and he encourages everyone to get them as soon as they’re eligible.

“Many people think if you get a vaccine you’re not going to get illness at all, but that’s not really how it works,” he explained. “The promise of this vaccine is that the majority of people won’t end up in the hospital.”