What it feels like to get Covid-19 after being vaccinated

Michael Miranda had been fully vaccinated for over four months when he tested positive for the coronavirus. “I stared at my phone for a few moments, wondering if this was a death sentence,” said Miranda, who works as a probation officer in Hawaii. After flying home from a trip to the West Coast, Miranda had experienced chills, sneezes, and a fever of 102 degrees Fahrenheit. “I immediately began blaming all the unmasked people,” he said.

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Daniele Selby, a writer in New York City, grappled with similar feelings when she started to experience exhaustion, significant congestion, headaches, and a loss of smell and taste. “I was pretty shocked to learn I’d tested positive,” she said. “I am fully vaccinated and have continued to wear masks … so to do all that and still get Covid-19 and feel ill has been pretty upsetting.”

The stories of vaccinated people with “breakthrough” cases of Covid-19, which are increasingly making news, affecting policy, and spreading on social media, have some common threads. A dozen vaccinated people told Vox that testing positive brought up feelings of shock, anger, fear, and even shame. Many said they’re finding themselves at the center of heated debates about vaccines, masks, and the future of the pandemic.