CANTON, Ga. - Dr. Anil Yadav has spent 16 years practicing family medicine in Cherokee and Pickens County. He’s popular among his patients. When one of them turned 100, his staff brought a birthday cake to her home.
So when Yadav got his COVID vaccination December 28, he made sure to post a photo on his Facebook page.
"It was painless," he assured his followers.
Dr. Yadav received his first Moderna vaccination December 28. He would develop COVID symptoms a few days later. There is no evidence the two are connected. (Facebook)
A photo he would post 12 days later wasn’t so comforting.
"This is Day #4 in the hospital for me on this near death experience with COVID pneumonia requiring the whole works, Remdesivir, plasma, steroids… affecting my lungs, kidneys & even heart," he wrote, adding a sad emoji.
Some of the responses to that post reveal clear concerns about the vaccine.
"You got the vaccine and then got deathly ill?" asked one.
Dr. Yadav was hospitalized and given steroids, Remdesivir and plasma to help him narrowly avoid a ventilator. (Facebook)
Yadav, 47, believes he was actually infected the day before he got the Moderna vaccine.
"People have sort of put two and two together," he said by Zoom after being discharged from Northside Hospital-Cherokee a few days earlier. "Look what happened to Dr. Yadav after the vaccine. Maybe it’s not a very good idea to get the vaccine. And honestly, I can make that statement there I did not get the COVID from the vaccine. I got COVID because I’m around it every day."
So far 57 similar cases have been reported across the country where someone developed symptoms of the virus after getting vaccinated. Many point out it happened within days before the vaccine could create those protective antibodies.
Can the vaccine give you the virus? Scientists say no, because there’s no virus in it.
Here’s one way to look at it:
Think of your body like your house, trying to protect it against a burglar or, in this case, the virus. Instead of testing your defenses with a real threat, the two COVID vaccines use something called messenger RNA — it’s like a message you might get from the Neighborhood Watch about a specific bad guy — warning you to update your security system and prepare for that specific threat.
Dr. Yadav had promised this patient he'd bring a cake to celebrate her 100th birthday. When he contracted COVID, two of his staff stepped in.
The Pfizer vaccine is 95% effective once the patient gets two doses 21 days apart. The Moderna vaccine is 94.1% effective after two doses 28 days apart. Both also help limit the seriousness of the disease for the small percentage who get both shots and still get infected.
Still, the record time it took to develop the vaccine has some understandably concerned.
A recent FOX 5 I-Team survey discovered less than 50% of first responders across metro Atlanta felt comfortable enough to sign up for the vaccine.
There can certainly be side effects. According to the CDC’s Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System or VAERS, patients typically complain of fever, chills, dizziness or pain at the injection site.
So far there are 96 reports of side effects in Georgia. On Monday, the state reported 423,011 shots had been administered.
Concerns about vaccine side effects have kept a majority of first responders from signing up for the shot.
"For me, getting the COVID right after the vaccine where the vaccine didn’t get a chance to help build immunity was just bad timing," said Yadav.
He did our Zoom interview while sitting in bed because even walking around the house is still difficult.
For a man with no previous health issues, who routinely ran road races, mountain-biked and did CrossFit, COVID has left Dr. Yadav with lung damage.
He said his story shouldn’t make people more fearful of the vaccine. It should make them want it even more.
"This is a bad disease," he warned. "I did everything I could to stay out of the hospital. I never expected myself to be this sick."
That’s why Dr. Yadav is eager to post again on Facebook — perhaps a picture soon of him getting his booster shot.
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