NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) - COVID-19 is on the rise in Middle Tennessee, and it’s not just affecting people who have not received the vaccine.
News4 has learned that 27 fully vaccinated people have died in Tennessee due to breakthrough cases. That’s when fully vaccinated people contract the virus. To learn more, click here.
The commissioner for the Tennessee Department of Health talked with the media for the first time after the firing of the state's top vaccine official earlier this month.
Davidson County has 370 breakthrough cases, 17 breakthrough hospitalizations, and three breakthrough case deaths. To learn more, click more.
While breakthrough cases are rare, doctors explained the symptoms.
"These COVID infections, it's important to note, are almost exclusively mild," Dr. William Shaffner, Infectious Disease Specialist with Vanderbilt Medical Center, said.
Shaffner also said that if you contract COVID after being vaccinated, you should experience fewer symptoms.
"Can you get a milder infection that put you out of sorts for a day or two? Sometimes put some people in bed for a day? Sure," Shaffner said. "But it's not like getting seriously ill."
Shaffner said that while vaccines are meant to keep patients out of the hospital and prevent severe cases, no vaccine is perfect.
"First of all, you may get no symptoms at all," Dr. Shaffner elaborated. "But, if you do, it's most likely some headache, sore throat, you don't cough so much, you can get a runny, stuffy nose. It looks more like a cold than a very serious infection."
Suppose you are vaccinated and experiencing these symptoms. In that case, Dr. Shaffner says you can get a COVID test or call your health care provider. And if you're vaccinated and contract COVID-19, there's less of a chance you will spread it.
"People who are vaccinated and exposed to COVID have much fewer, many fewer, viruses in their throat," Dr. Shaffner explained. "So, they are less likely to transmit it to others."
Although that number isn't zero, Dr. Shaffner said it's better than those who are unvaccinated and more contagious.
The Metro Nashville Public Health Department says these breakthrough cases are rare. Only 0.1% are in Davidson County.