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Fil-Am breakthrough COVID-19 case stresses importance of vaccines despite infection

Lenn Almadin Thornhill | TFC News Washington, D.C.

Posted at Aug 09 2021 05:57 PM | Updated as of Aug 10 2021 04:22 PM

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Filipino American Yannik Omictin could not believe it when he started feeling sick, a day after an eviction moratorium protest on the Capitol building in Washington, D.C.

Omictin, a community activist, had gotten the COVID vaccine but he learned on Thursday that he tested positive for the virus. "It’s shocking 'cause you don’t think you’re going to be one of the breakthrough cases. You don’t think you’re going to be one of the stats that show up on the DC Health dashboard. And of course, I feel strange 'cause I know I have this sort of this pandemic-causing virus running around inside me. I also know the vaccine is doing its job. I could tell because I don’t feel very sick anymore," said Omictin.

Fil-Am Yannik Omictin joined a protest attended by New York Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
Fil-Am Yannik Omictin (left) joined a protest attended by New York Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (middle).

Adding to Omictin’s worry was the fact that he was just with dozens of people including New York Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. He said that he has emailed Ocasio-Cortez's office and her chief of staff to let them know about his infection and that he was next to the lawmaker at the protest.

Omictin told ABS-CBN News that after a full day of contact tracing, no one else has gotten sick. While he is not sure how he got the virus, he is certain that the vaccine kept anyone else from getting sick. "I might have broken through or COVID broke through in my case, but I kept my community safe because I got vaccinated. So it's not just about you. It’s what happens when you get sick, and you don't know it and who you might talk to. Your own family, you could get them sick, if they’re not vaccinated."

Scientists say breakthrough infections are rare. According to a recent Kaiser Family Foundation study done in 23 states and Washington, D.C., the rate of breakthrough cases among the fully vaccinated was below one percent in each state. Meanwhile, about 99% of recent COVID-related deaths are people who did not get vaccinated.

On Sunday, Doctor Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, again issued a warning that vaccine-resistant COVID variants could develop if enough Americans don't get vaccinated. "If you give the virus the chance to continue to change, you're leading to a vulnerability that we might get a worse variant and then that will impact not only the unvaccinated, that will impact the vaccinated because that variant could evade the protection of the vaccine," warned Fauci.

Over 50% of people in the U.S. have been fully vaccinated. But for the first time since February, an average of more than 100,000 COVID cases had been reported per day. In late June, it was about 11,000 cases a day.

"If there are folks out there that have family values, values that are supposed to be Filipino values, highly centered around family, what better thing to do than do the thing that would protect your family," said Omictin.