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Signs You Have a Breakthrough Infection After Vaccination

Even if you are vaccinated, you can still catch COVID.
FACT CHECKED BY Alek Korab

While breakthrough COVID-19 infections are rare once an individual has been fully vaccinated, they are possible and even expected. On the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website, they note "vaccines are effective and are a critical tool to bring the pandemic under control." However, "no vaccines are 100% effective at preventing illness in vaccinated people" and "there will be a small percentage of fully vaccinated people who still get sick, are hospitalized, or die from COVID-19." This week, former E! News host and podcaster Catt Sadler shared her breakthrough infection experience, revealing that she tested positive for the Delta variant after being fully vaccinated. Read on to see if you might have a breakthrough infection—get tested if you think you do—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You Have "Long" COVID and May Not Even Know It.

1

Here Is How She Got Infected

Catt Sadler
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After being fully vaccinated for COVID-19, Sadler revealed on Instagram that she was taking care of someone who she thought had the flu. "I was caring for someone who contracted Covid (although at the time we thought it was just the flu) – so I did come into close contact with the virus, but I wore a mask, and again I'm fully vaccinated. I assumed I would be fine," she wrote on Instagram. The person she was caring for was not vaccinated. Dr. Anthony Fauci has said you are more likely to catch COVID from someone who is not vaccinated than from someone who is vaccinated, due to the amount of virus in the nasopharynx.

2

You Experience Severe Symptoms

Woman sleeps in bed with a face mask on
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Sadler explains that she was stunned by how "relentless and highly contagious" the Delta variant is and that she experienced "severe" symptoms. Some doctors are warning that patients are experiencing more severe complications as a result of infection. Others like Dr. Fauci have said that the symptoms may be mild, which is why hospitalizations and deaths aren't rising as quickly as cases. (Although he and other doctors warn anyone who catches COVID could develop Long COVID, with symptoms like fatigue and post-exertional malaise that may never go away.)

3

You May Run a Fever

Sick woman with fever checking her temperature with a thermometer at home
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A spike in temperature is a common sign of COVID-19. "Two days of a fever now," Sadler wrote.

4

You May Get a "Throbbing" Headache

Young woman have headache migraine stress or tinnitus
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Many people also experience a severe headache. "Head throbbing," Sadler said about the head pain that went along with her infection.  

5

You May Experience Congestion

Sick woman blowing nose on her sofa.
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Congestion is another sign of an infection, especially COVID. Sadler described hers as "extreme." Doctors in the UK have said infections from the new Delta variant include cold-like symptoms.

6

You Might Have Pink Eye

A woman's pink eye with infection.
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Sadler revealed that she had "some weird pus" coming out of her eye. While it could be due to congestion, pink eye is another reported symptom of COVID-19. 

7

You Experience Fatigue

Blond Woman can't sleep at night.
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One of the primary symptoms of COVID-19 is "serious fatigue," as Sadler described it. "No energy to even leave the bed," she wrote.

RELATED: Sure Signs You May Have Dementia, According to the CDC

8

"Don't Let Your Guard Down"

woman adjusting a trendy textile face mask behind her ear.
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If you experience any of these symptoms, or a new loss of taste or smell, nausea or vomiting, diarrhea, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, muscle or body aches or cough, get tested for COVID and contact your doctor. Sadler is sharing her story so that people will "understand that the pandemic is very much NOT over" and take precaution. "If you are not vaccinated and not wearing a mask, I assure you don't want to feel like this and not only are you bound to get sick eventually you'll be spreading it to others (as in my case – I got this from someone who wasn't vaccinated)," she wrote. "If you are vaccinated, don't let your guard down. If you're in crowds or indoors in public I highly recommend taking the extra precaution of wearing a mask." So get vaccinated when it becomes available to you, and to protect your life and the lives of others, don't visit any of these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.