Calif. man tests positive for COVID-19 weeks after receiving 2nd vaccine dose

MISSION VIEJO, Calif. (KCAL/KCBS) - A California man contracted COVID-19 after receiving both doses of the Pfizer vaccine. Health experts warn this could become more common due to the virus variants that have emerged.

Gary Michael was tested Saturday for COVID-19 when he went to Mission Hospital in Mission Viejo, California, for an unrelated health issue. He later received a phone call from county health officials telling him he tested positive.

“They told me that, yes, I’m positive with coronavirus, and they went through my symptoms and the precautions of what I should do as far as quarantine,” Michael said.

With the ongoing pandemic, none of this would be out of the ordinary except for the fact that Michael has received both doses of his COVID-19 vaccine. His first Pfizer shot was Dec. 28, followed by a second one Jan. 18.

Michael says his case is relatively minor. His live-in girlfriend tested positive for COVID-19 five days after he received his second dose of the vaccine.

Dr. Tirso del Junco, the chief medical officer for seven Southern California hospitals, says he’s not surprised by Michael’s story.

“I think I’ve heard of six or seven independent cases over the last three weeks of individuals that have been vaccinated with different timelines that have tested positive, and I think we’re going to continue to see that more and more,” del Junco said.

These cases are part of the reason why doctors are urging people to keep using face masks whether they’ve been vaccinated or not, especially in light of new COVID-19 variants spreading in the community.

“We’re going to truly understand the effectiveness and how long these vaccines are effective, No. 1,” del Junco said. “No. 2, as soon as we started the vaccination program is when we started hearing about these mutant strains. We’ve got three aggressive mutant strains now that people keep talking about, and that’s been long after we started this vaccination process.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, clinical trials showed the Pfizer vaccine was “95% effective at preventing laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 illness in people without evidence of previous infection.”

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