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Idaho couple gets COVID-19, credits vaccine for keeping them alive

James McGerty from Idaho went on a trip to Yellowstone National Park with his family, and days after their return, his wife tested positive for the virus.

BOISE, Idaho — As the delta variant circulates around the United States and in Idaho, COVID breakthrough cases are becoming more common.

The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare states that there are currently 1,154 breakthrough cases in Idaho. On June 28, 2021, there were 445 breakthrough cases.

James McGerty from Idaho went on a trip to Yellowstone National Park with his family, and days after their return his wife tested positive for the virus. His wife Kathy had been fully vaccinated since February. In days, she developed body aches, a fever, and shortness of breath. 

“Why? We have done everything we are supposed to we have worn masks when we are supposed to, we got vaccinated how is this us?” James said.

A couple of days later, his mother tested positive, she was also fully vaccinated. While McGerty never got tested, he’s confident he was positive too. He said he lost his taste of smell for a couple days but over all his symptoms were very mild.

While those who are vaccinated are typically shocked when they come down with the virus, Dr. John East, the Director of Pulmonology and Critical Care Services at Saint Alphonsus, said no vaccine is perfect and breakthrough cases will occur.

“What we really worry about are the serious infections where people's health is at threat or their life is at threat, and we know the vaccine has been protecting people from those problems,” Dr. East said.

East said that when the level of infections in a community are high, the probability of the vaccinated getting infected increases. He added the solution is to get vaccinated.

“The studies have been done, the studies have proven that not only are they safe but they are effective, and the risk profile versus the benefits, it's clearly well in favor of the benefit,” he said.

McGerty said although his wife had more severe symptoms, his family still credits the vaccine for keeping them out of the hospital and alive.

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