MERCED, Calif. -- Like 48% of Americans, Rene Bazaldua and his fiancée are fully vaccinated. They both received their second dose of the Pfizer vaccine in March.
But he tested positive for the virus just four days ago.
"How did we get it, how," he said. "It's like, we were careful the whole time. A year and a half, we were careful the whole time and then we end up getting it."
Last week, he and his fiancée traveled out of state. Bazaldua said despite their vaccine protections, they barely let their guard down.
"I mean, we still wore a mask in Reno," he said. "We were walking down and got yelled at by a lady."
Bazaldua lives in Merced County, where only 30% of the residents have been fully vaccinated.
The county's public health director, Rebecca Nanyonjo-Kemp, says the number-one cause of death in the county right now is COVID-19. But, the director says the best defense against any variant of the virus is still the vaccination.
"I will tell you this: the pros far outweigh the cons," she said. "So get yourself vaccinated, do the right thing. Protect yourself, protect others, even if it's not outside your household. Protect those within your household."
On Tuesday, the county health department confirmed, Merced County has four Delta Variant cases to date.
Because the county is not close to achieving the minimum 70% herd immunity, she says the likelihood of people catching COVID-19 still will be significant.
Health officials say people who are fully vaccinated have protections against more severe illnesses.
"It's a good thing that I'm vaccinated because, if I wasn't vaccinated, I probably would have been in the hospital," Bazaldua said. "It probably could have killed me."
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