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A South Florida politician is one of the thousands of patients recovering from a breakthrough case of COVID-19.
“When I was vaccinated, I was still masking up,” said North Miami Beach City Commissioner Fortuna Smukler. “I guess I must have let my guard down at some point, or it might have been somewhere where we ate, that we felt comfortable without our masks — and at that point we caught COVID.”
Smukler and her husband both got vaccinated and both contracted the COVID virus.
Out of the 180 patients being treated at Broward Health System, 15 already had their COVID vaccinations. They are what’s known as “breakthrough COVID cases.”
Doctors are not surprised.
“The vaccine is incredibly effective, but there’s different levels of effectiveness,” said Broward Health Chief Medical Officer Joshua Lenchus.
He said it’s important that people understand how the COVID vaccine works.
“Many people think the vaccine prevents you from getting the infection altogether,“ he said. But that’s not how vaccines work.
“When you get infected is when the vaccine kicks in,” said Dr. Lenchus.
The vaccine helps arm your immune system to fight off the infection. Vaccinated patients who get COVID-19 should experience less severe symptoms and symptoms that are shorter in duration.
As of July 19, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported 5,914 breakthrough COVID-19 cases.
According to the CDC, it’s not certain if the virus caused the hospitalizations or deaths.
The CDC is only tracking “breakthrough cases” involving hospitalizations or death.
The CDC’s website has all kinds of information on breakthrough cases, noting how they are expected, and how no vaccine is 100% effective in preventing illness.
Smukler is convinced the vaccine worked in her favor.
“I honestly believe I would have been hospitalized had I not been vaccinated,” she said.