Despite rare breakthrough infection, Georgia woman says COVID-19 vaccine works

Montina Daniels of Lawrenceville, Georgia, got the Pfizer COVID-19 shots months ago, through her former employer.

"I got vaccinated in January," Daniels says.  "I got both doses.  Months went by.  I went to Vegas.  I traveled back to Michigan."

Then, Fourth of July weekend, the 49-year-old Lawrenceville mother of two hosted family from out of town, and she says they were all over the place.

Black woman with short parted black hair smiles while taking a selfie.

Montina Daniels of Lawrenceville, GA, experienced a breakthrough COVID-19 infection months after being fully vaccinated.

"We were in grocery stores, restaurants," she says.  "We went to a small gathering.  We were bowling."

Daniels has no idea how or where she came across the coronavirus.

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But, a week later, Daniels says, she woke up with a fever, aching all over.

"It hurt to walk," Daniels says.  "It hurt to do everything, from my fingertips to my toes.  I went to the urgent care, and I tested positive for COVID."

She is one of five family members to test positive for the virus, and was the only one who was vaccinated.

Black woman with her mask pulled down sits in an emergency department bay. She is wearing glasses, and the screen from her phone reflects the light in her glasses.

Montina Daniels of Lawrenceville, GA, experienced a breakthrough COVID-19 infection months after being fully vaccinated.

"I was terrified," she says.  "I was scared."

For the last month, the much more contagious delta COVID-19 variant has been spreading across the US.

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A CDC map now shows just over 60% of U.S. counties have moved into the red or orange zone, indicating high or substantial levels of virus transmission risk.

Most of the Georgia map is red or orange.

The CDC says the spread of the delta variant is being driven by unvaccinated individuals.

But, with so much virus circulating, there is growing evidence fully vaccinated people like Daniels can contract the virus and may be contagious, spreading it to others around them.

Daniels spent two weeks in bed, struggling with fatigue and pain, but she has no regrets about getting vaccinated.

"I still stand behind that vaccine, 100%," she says.  "I know the vaccine saved my life. It did its job."

That is because Daniels has both diabetes and high blood pressure, two conditions that raise her of landing in the hospital or dying from complications of the virus.

She did have to go to the ER, to be treated for severe dehydration, but was able to return home the same day.

While there, she says, an emergency physician told her without the vaccine, she might have faced a much harder ordeal.

"It saved me from being hospitalized," she says. "It saved me from possibly dying."

Still, it has been six months since she received her vaccine doses, and Daniels has questions.

"Does it wear off?" she asks. "This is where I want more information about the booster they are speaking about."

She is hoping for more answers from researchers on whether she may need a third shot in the fall or winter.

In the meantime, Montina Daniels has no regrets about getting vaccinated.

"It saved my life, and I support it," she says. "I still think that people still should get the vaccine."

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