Sudbury

Vaccinated Sudbury woman who contracted COVID-19 encourages others to get their shots

A Sudbury woman is encouraging others to get fully vaccinated against COVID-19, as she still continues to recover from the virus after being a breakthrough case herself.

Kim Fahner says she fears she would have been hospitalized 'or worse' if not vaccinated

Kim Fahner, a Sudbury teacher and poet, is still feeling the effects of COVID-19 after contracting it weeks ago. (Gerry Kingsley)

A Sudbury woman is encouraging others to get fully vaccinated against COVID-19, as she still continues to recover from the virus after being a breakthrough case herself.

Kim Fahner contracted COVID-19 several weeks ago and is still recovering. The Sudbury teacher assumed her runny nose was her usual allergies at first.

"I thought that's OK, it's nothing," she said.

She then found out she had been a close contact of a confirmed case but didn't start to worry until she had problems booking an appointment to get tested.

"I teach, so I would rather not miss school if I was just not positive," she said.

As Fahner got more sick, she started to get scared as she lives alone with her dog.

"I've been sick with bronchitis and I know my lungs are not the best when I get sick," she said. "And if the bronchitis did to me what it did six years ago, I knew this would be harder and it was."

Her sniffle started to get worse and Fahner said by then, she had developed a rough cough and had a lot of sneezing as well.

"By the time they called to say I had it on Thursday night …. I knew I was quite ill," she said.

'Every single symptom'

Fahner said she was told her case was mild.

"When they say mild, they mean you're not in hospital," she said. "For me, it was really awful. I got every single symptom and they cycled."

Fahner said community paramedics checked in on her due to her underlying lung condition. She was assessed and left with tools to monitor her vitals.

More than four weeks later, Fahner said she is still feeling the impact of the virus. She said it was very difficult to start losing senses.

"I cried," she said. "If you can't smell or taste anything, it's almost like your appetite goes and then you have to think about forcing yourself to get nutrients in because you know you have to fight the virus."

Fahner said both being sick as well as being isolated have been difficult. She said she had close friends messaging her to check in, which has helped.

"But you're still on your own and you're still really physically ill," she said. "I couldn't get out of bed for two and a half weeks."

Fahner said the fatigue is "nothing she's ever felt before."

"I can have a shower in the morning and get dressed but then I have to sit down for 40 minutes," she said. "You just feel without strength. That's the scary part right now."

Public Health Ontario says unvaccinated cases are accounting for 90 per cent of hospitalizations in the province and 89.4 per cent of deaths. In comparison, breakthrough cases accounted for 3.6 per cent of hospitalizations and 4.1 per cent of deaths. (Lars Hagberg/The Canadian Press)

Vaccines offer 'high level of protection,' but infection possible

Fahner is double vaccinated and she's encouraging others to get immunized.

"The vaccine works because I'm sure if I had not had the vaccines, I would have been in the hospital or worse," she said.

"You can't fiddle around with this. We need to have double vaccinations and a booster."

According to a Public Health Ontario report, between Dec. 14, 2020 and Nov. 28, 2021, breakthrough cases, or cases that show up in fully vaccinated people accounted for 4.6 per cent of the population in the province.

"While vaccines provide a high degree of protection from COVID-19 infection, it is expected that a small proportion of vaccinated individuals may become infected as no vaccine is 100 per cent effective," the report said.

"Over time as a population becomes more highly vaccinated the number of post-vaccination cases, including breakthrough cases, will likely increase."

Public Health Ontario also said unvaccinated cases are accounting for 90 per cent of hospitalizations in the province and 89.4 per cent of deaths. In comparison, breakthrough cases accounted for 3.6 per cent of hospitalizations and 4.1 per cent of deaths.

As cases continue to rise, Fahner wants others to think about their own vaccine status.

"Look down that list of symptoms and ask if you want to deal with those," she said.

"It's made me rethink, like, really. I'm so blessed to have had those vaccines."

Sudbury teacher Kim Fahner is double vaccinated but she still ended up being infected with the COVID-19 virus. She shared what suffering through that infection was like.

With files from Morning North

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