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Vaccinated woman who lost Ky. father to COVID tests positive for virus

Published: Jul. 9, 2021 at 6:22 PM EDT
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Ky. (WBKO) - A Kentucky native is recovering from COVID, but the twist is that she is fully vaccinated. Gretchen Lawson is among the few ‘breakthrough cases.’

“There’s a lot of questions we have, obviously,” said Lawson.

Campbellsville man and Lawson’s father, David Akridge, died from COVID-19 early on in the pandemic in May of 2020.

[RELATED: COVID-19 stories: Family one of hundreds of thousands grieving loss of Campbellsville man]

“During this, we’ve been so careful,” expressed Lawson.

Because of this, Lawson took the COVID-19 vaccine with pride and honor in March.

“I hate that he didn’t have the option of vaccine or something to protect him,” she said.

[RELATED: Campbellsville man battles COVID-19 for nearly a month, on ventilator for almost a week]

Four months later, Lawson says her daughters tested positive for COVID-19, although, she doesn’t know where they picked it up.

“I was like, there’s no way I’m getting sick, you know, like, I’m vaccinated,” thought Lawson.

After feeling sick enough to go to the doctor, to her surprise on July 6, she too received a positive test.

“My symptoms seem to be a lot worse than what my children had,” explained Lawson.

Lawson’s case is as rare as a .01 percent chance. According to data from the end of April, among 101 million fully vaccinated people, a total of 10,262 “breakthrough infections” were reported.

“Where I’m at, the doctor actually had not sent off any of that type of tests for vaccinated individuals. So I was the first test to go out,” said Lawson.

Despite the positive test and rough symptoms, Lawson says she’s grateful for getting vaccinated.

“I don’t want people to not get vaccinated,” she said. “The truth is that I probably did not get hospitalized because I had the vaccine. I still think there was this layer of protection.”

Where her frustration lies is in the lack of answers as there are still so many unknowns about the novel virus.

“With losing a biological parent like I did to COVID, obviously, I want to know, kind of why this is happening,” said Lawson.

The CDC has stopped investigating all breakthrough cases and is now only looking into ones that lead to hospitalizations or death.

“I do wish the CDC would follow all the breakthrough cases like mine because I was extremely sick.”

Throughout the past year and a half, Lawson has experienced a range of emotions from loss to hope to confusion. However, there’s one thing that remains for her and that’s faith in science.

“Even though I got so sick, I think the vaccines still kept me from ending up, maybe like my dad, you know, I don’t I don’t want to go as far to say that. But, um, but that was kind of the thought in the back of my mind while I was going through it all,” she said.

Lawson had a test sent off that will eventually determine which variant she tested positive for. Both of her daughters are recovered from the virus saying, “I’m feeling pretty well, I mean, it’s been a week since I last had symptoms.”

There have been 5,186 hospitalized or fatal vaccine breakthrough cases reported to the CDC so far.

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