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A Fully Vaccinated NBA Player Contracted COVID-19. That Shouldn't Stop You From Getting Vaccinated

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Zachary Walston
Zachary Walston
 2021-05-07

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On May 6th, Golden State Warrior Forward Damion Lee revealed he contracted COVID-19. While newsworthy for fans of the San Fransisco basketball squad, it is not uncommon for a professional athlete to contract COVID-19. What is uncommon is to contract the virus after being fully vaccinated.

“I did test positive for COVID about two weeks ago,” Lee said, via The Athletic's Anthony Slater. “I did get the vaccine the middle, end of March, and I mean essentially this was just a rare breakthrough case.”

Being a rare breakthrough case is correct. According to the CDC, only 0.007% of fully vaccinated people have contracted COVID-19. It is unfortunate Lee contracted the virus and fortunately it appears he escaped serious effects, reporting "brain fog" being his primary concern. Granted, long-covid can last up to 12 weeks and longer in rare cases. The key takeaway should not be that the vaccine does not work, rather, that the vaccine is not 100% effective.

From the onset of the vaccine rollout, Pfizer, Moderna, the CDC, and every governing body has made clear the effectiveness rate was below 100%. This is why social distancing and wearing a mask are still recommended. Until the vaccine rates rise - likely over 70% - precautions should remain in place.

Some people will read about Lee's case and write off the vaccine, concluding it is pointless and carries more risk than harm. This is not true.

The adverse reaction rates are extremely low. The risks for contracting the virus and suffering severe symptoms or long-Covid, even in your and healthy people, outweigh any risks the vaccine poses.

Cherry-picking individual cases is dangerous. This is why we have scientific studies. They reduce the risk of bias and variables that influence results while increasing the number of participants to better translate the results to the public.

Most of us can think of a friend or relative that smoked regularly and lived to be 90 years old. This does not mean smoking is safe. It means that person had great genetics and other protective factors in their life - such as great social support and psychological health.

There is a light at the end of the pandemic tunnel. COVID-19 rates are plummeting, including in San Francisco. To reach it, we need to remain vigilant. Get vaccinated. Wear your mask. Stop being selfish.

Damion Lee is an important reminder that we are not out of this pandemic.

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