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Local healthcare worker tests positive for COVID-19 despite vaccination

Posted at 10:07 PM, Mar 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-23 15:47:09-04

TAMPA, Fla. — A local healthcare worker tested positive for COVID-19 despite being fully vaccinated.

Hanna Rewerts tested positive for the virus last week. She received her first dose of the Pfizer vaccine in December and received her second dose in January.

She is tested regularly for work.

"Every Monday, it was just normal routine to get tested so I didn’t really think anything of it, you know, this time around so when I got the results back, it was positive. Obviously, I was like 'oh, wow, I have no symptoms. How can I be positive?' I understand there is a chance I could be positive. The vaccine isn't 100%" said Rewerts.

Rewerts said she felt tired, but that was her only symptom. Her mother and two other family members were vaccinated, but also tested positive.

"All vaccinated around the same time from different locations, you know, three different households, minimum exposure to each other," said Rewerts.

Rewerts said she has been in contact with the local health department and she is also self-isolating.

"The health department is looking into seeing if it's a different variant. They did come to swab and check us all. They sent it off so we don't have those results yet," said Rewerts.

Rewerts said one family member was hospitalized but has since returned home.

"You know, if we didn't have the vaccine who knows what the case would be," said Rewerts.

Rewerts said if she was not tested for COVID-19 at work, she may not have suspected she had the virus.

"I would have no idea which is another reason why I think the public for the most part thinks that they're free and clear after they get the vaccine which you know, I understand and we've been waiting for this vaccine and waiting for this freedom to come back."

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say it takes about two weeks after the second shot of both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines for them to be effective. The vaccines significantly reduce severe illness, hospitalization and death.

Dr. Kami Kim, Division Director of Infectious Diseases and International Medicine at the University of South Florida, said she is not surprised to hear about someone contracting COVID-19 despite being vaccinated.

"The most important thing is to prevent people from being intubated, getting severely ill from dying. That's the endpoint we care the most about," said Dr. Kami Kim.

"Obviously everyone wants the vaccine to be as effective as possible and to have no one to have the virus, but if it prevents almost everyone from getting a serious disease, I would view that as a huge success so no, I'm not entirely surprised."

Dr. Kim encourages people to get vaccinated. Rewerts also encourages people to take the vaccine and keep their guard up.

"Nothing works perfectly. This vaccine works far better than we had hoped...all the data in millions of people seems to indicate that so I think, go get your vaccine if you haven't yet," said Dr. Kim.

"I think there are people going out kind of lowering their guard because they feel comfortable now that they're vaccinated, but unfortunately there are still cases that unless somebody like me comes forward and tells this story or is weekly tested, they could have no idea they have COVID," added Rewerts.