Even After COVID-19 Vaccine, Infection Is Still Possible

WBZ-TV's Beth Germano reports.

Video Transcript

DAVID WADE: A New Hampshire College student who was fully vaccinated was stunned when he was diagnosed with COVID-19. Good evening to you. I'm David Wade.

PAULA EBBEN: And I'm Paula Ebben. Doctors call this a breakthrough infection. Studies found Pfizer's vaccine was 95% effective, Moderna's 94.1%, Johnson & Johnson, 66.3%. But stating the obvious here, none of those numbers is 100%. And as WBZ's Beth Germano shows us, the New Hampshire student's story is a good reminder.

BETH GERMANO: That's 22-year-old Gunnar Consol getting his shot on March 7 and celebrating on social media.

GUNNAR CONSOL: We're both vaccinated. Vaccination clink.

It kind of felt like a relief because when I got vaccinated, I thought, all right, we're in the homestretch.


BETH GERMANO: But a phone call put the brakes on that. The call from Rapid Response at Plymouth State College that he was positive for COVID-19, three weeks to the day after getting vaccinated.

GUNNAR CONSOL: It was definitely a punch in the gut to be vaccinated, think that I'm clear from quarantine, and then have to isolate for 10 days.

BETH GERMANO: He had to cancel Easter plans to see his family in Florida, moved to all-online classes, isolated in his apartment, and deal with being a statistic of getting COVID after vaccination.

GUNNAR CONSOL: I'm one of those. I'm one of three in the entire state, which is just crazy because I never thought I would have these odds.

BETH GERMANO: The odds are small, but since vaccines aren't 100% effective, it's not unusual. And it's not yet clear how many people have contracted the virus after vaccination.

PAUL SAX: Your risk of getting COVID is not just changed by getting the vaccine. It's also changed by how much COVID is in the community and the activities that you do.


BETH GERMANO: Vaccination usually means milder symptoms. For Gunnar, it meant losing his sense of smell and taste, along with getting headaches and a lingering cough.


BETH GERMANO: Dr. Paul Sax says even with a case like Gunnar's, vaccines are the best defense.

PAUL SAX: It's very important that people understand that the vaccines are wonderful vaccines. They prevent severe illness. They prevent hospitalization.

BETH GERMANO: For now, he'll have to be medically cleared to return to his sport of track and field. But he's thankful the ordeal is over and is still calculating the odds. Beth Germano, WBZ News.