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Lauren Verno shares her experience as a COVID-19 breakthrough case

She was vaccinated, but she still got COVID -- something she points out is rare.

File photo of consumer investigator Lauren Verno.
File photo of consumer investigator Lauren Verno.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – My job is to report the news, not become the news.

However, these are, as we have heard many times before, unprecedented times.

I was vaccinated, I wore my mask and I still got COVID. I was a breakthrough case.

To be honest, I’m not sure how I felt when I first got diagnosed. I can tell you that physically, I had a headache, my throat hurt, I had a cough and I was EXHAUSTED. But more than anything, mentally, I was drained.

Drained that after a year-and-a-half of avoiding the virus, I got sick.

I base a lot of my life and all my work on facts. The fact is, breakthrough cases are rare. So, it’s hard not to say, “why me?”

The first couple days were no walk in the park. I thought I had strep throat -- my symptoms were very similar. There was no doubt I was sick. Whether it was the virus or my body catching up on some much-needed sleep, I slept on average 14-18 hours a day.

But then I got better, stronger -- so much so that I started to work from home. Now, I’m not going to pretend I was 100% back. In the words of one of my co-workers: “You could see in your eyes you were tired.”

However, there’s no question it could have been worse. I know that because I was sick at the same time as one of my friends. The difference was: I was vaccinated, she was not.

I never got a fever, she did for many days. I never lost my sense of taste or smell, she still doesn’t have it completely back. I went back to work after a few days, she stayed in her bed for more than a week.

Now, I get that everyone’s body works differently and comparing our experiences is not completely fair. However, we are both healthy, young women and there was no doubt a difference in our experience.

I had another friend who got the virus a year ago, and she said to me: “I’m so happy you got the vaccine. I don’t wish how I felt on anyone.”

The reality is, I know how lucky I was. When I got diagnosed, I was prescribed an inhaler. Me, the person who works out five days a week, getting an inhaler. That was a shock and a wakeup call of just how real this was.

While I was mentally and physically drained by it all, I also had a sense of calm knowing I was going to be OK.

Remember, I work on facts. And the fact is, vaccinated people being hospitalized is RARE. Vaccinated people dying is RARE. I knew I was going to get through it, and I don’t know if I would have felt that confident if I didn’t have the vaccine.

Now, I know what many of you are thinking. Well that’s great, you got the vaccine, but you still got sick. Yes, but that’s OK. Vaccines aren’t perfect. Nothing is perfect. Let’s go back to the facts. No one said that you couldn’t get sick.

And, I got sick. I’m still working on getting my stamina back, but hey, I’m also back at work, my loved ones didn’t get sick and there was never a moment that I didn’t think I was going to get through it.

I know this all may sound a bit dramatic, but when you cover stories of people dying from the virus daily, it’s not dramatic. It’s reality.

At first, I was scared to share that I got sick. Nervous it would make people question the vaccine even more. But now I realize, why would I not share my story? I got sick, but I’m back, I’m doing OK and I know the vaccine had a part in that.

About the Author:

Lauren Verno anchors the 9 a.m. hour of The Morning Show and is the consumer investigative reporter weekday afternoons.