LAKE COUNTY, Fla. — A Central Florida woman says she and her family learned the hard way that you can still be infected even after getting vaccinated. 

What You Need To Know

  • One woman says she and two dozen other family members contracted COVID-19, despite being vaccinated

  • A doctor says that not all vaccines are 100% effective, but they will reduce your odds of getting really sick

  • He says the vast majority of hospitalized COVID-19 patients he sees are unvaccinated

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, these are called “vaccine breakthrough cases.”

Heidi Hardman of Lake County traveled to attend a family reunion two weeks ago, where more than 70 of her relatives gathered.

“At least 90% of us were vaccinated. I mean, I wouldn’t have gone especially if it put my in-laws at risk. So we were thinking we were good. We weren’t worried about it at all, not in the slightest,” Hardman said. 

But after they got back, she said she and many of her relatives starting developing symptoms, enough to prompt them to get tested for COVID-19. 

“My father-in-law, me, my husband and they just started pouring in after that... So far, 25 have confirmed positive,” Hardman said. 

She said all 25, including herself, had been fully vaccinated. She and her family members had various vaccines from Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson.

However, no vaccine is 100% effective, and infectious disease specialist Dr. Kartik Charabuddi says that is even truer with the Delta variant. 

“The Delta variant, depending on the studies you look at, is 50% to 200% more infectious than the regular COVID virus,” Cherabuddi said. 

While Hardman is not sure whether they had the Delta variant, she did say many of the activities the family did together were indoors.

“We have that whole communal kitchen, so everybody eats in the kitchen, everybody preps the food in the kitchen. So it was more close quarters,” Hardman said. 

Cherabuddi says it is only natural not to want to wear masks with close family and friends. But large gatherings indoors are prime spreading ground for the Delta variant. 

“When you're outdoors, or (have) really good ventilation that makes an indoor space like the outdoors... you dilute out the virus significantly. Your chance of getting infected drops exponentially,” Cherabuddi said. 

Orange County leaders have even advised people to wear masks indoors, even when they are vaccinated, something Hardman says she is going to start doing again. 

“I’m going to be back to wearing my mask, as much as I did not want to do that again,” Hardman said. 

Cherabuddi said even if more breakthrough cases happen with the Delta variant, the vaccine still greatly reduces your chances of being hospitalized from the virus. 

He said virtually all of the new COVID-19 hospitalizations he is seeing are among unvaccinated people. ​