SoCal nurse who got COVID-19 after vaccination urges others to still get the vaccine

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- A San Gabriel Valley nurse who got COVID-19 after being fully vaccinated is coming forward to share her story. She wants people to know that even though she got sick, the vaccine works.

As soon as she could, registered nurse Lisa Blais got in line to get the Pfizer vaccine.

"Vaccinations became available to us around the beginning of December," she said. "And I was vaccinated the first week they came out."

By early January, she got her second dose. But six weeks later, she started feeling sick, tired and congested. A COVID-19 test revealed she got the virus.

"I was very shocked. I was the 5% that got infected. It's not 100%, as we know, it's 95% effective," Blais said.

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Still, how could this happen? Blais never stopped wearing personal protective equipment at work or masking outside her home. She got infected where she least expected it.

"I had a direct exposure from a close family member," she said.

Blais was hesitant to share her experience because she was concerned about the comments anti-vaxxers may make and that people who are vaccine-hesitant may become even more so. But, doctors say what happened to Blais is proof the vaccine works.

Dr. Elizabeth Hudson is the regional chief of infectious diseases for Southern California Permanente Medical Group.

"The fact that she was able to not need to go to the hospital and not become severely ill, truly is a testament to how good the vaccines do offer protection," Hudson said.

Hudson said she's concerned people might let their guard down.

"At this point, even after you are vaccinated, you still have to be very, very careful," she said. "Still wearing masks, still physically-distancing and still keeping up with diligent frequent hand washing."

Hudson added the benefits of getting a COVID-19 vaccine are clear.

"Being vaccinated does actually protect not only the person who got vaccinated, but also helps prevent them from spreading it to others," she said.

While Blais is still dealing with a loss of smell and taste and headaches, she's grateful she got vaccinated when she did.

"I truly believe the vaccine helped me get through this kind of unscathed. If the vaccine becomes available to you, please take the opportunity to get it," she said, "COVID is real. Unless you've worked in the hospital, I don't believe the public truly understands what COVID is really like."
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