BROOMFIELD, Colo. — A fully vaccinated Broomfield man suspects he contracted a variant of COVID-19. Now, he hopes his experience will encourage others to use precautions as public health orders are eased.
"I had been fully vaccinated over a month ago, so I felt that I was safe from COVID," Kraig Vandiver said.
Late last week, he began to experience an itchy throat and small cough. He decided to get tested for COVID-19, and he expected the results to confirm he was battling a minor cold.
"I was absolutely shocked when I found out I tested positive," Vandiver said.
Vandiver said he was contacted by CDPHE shortly after and told that he likely contracted a variant of the disease.
"[She said] it was safe to assume it was the U.K. variant I was probably exposed to," Vandiver said.
In early March, state health officials warned more contagious variants of COVID-19 were increasing. By mid-March, officials said variants made up of 30% of Colorado's positive cases.
On Wednesday, CDC director Rochelle Walensky said the U.K. variant, B.1.1.7, had become the dominant strain in the United States.
"There are a certain percentage of people who will test positive after vaccination," said Dr. Ross Kedl, a professor of immunology and microbiology at the University of Colorado Anschutz School of Medicine. The key feature of getting the vaccine: ideally, it keeps you from getting infected, but bottom line, it keeps you from getting extremely ill, going to the hospital and dying."
Vandiver credited his vaccination as to the reason he didn't undergo a more extreme case with the disease.
"I truly believe that because I was vaccinated, my symptoms were more mild than they would've been had I not been vaccinated," he said. "If you even feel that you have mild symptoms, take the proper precautions. Get yourself tested — don't wait. That would be my best advice."