As the number of recorded coronavirus infections in the UK rises again, we spoke to three people about their experiences of catching Covid despite having been fully vaccinated, and how it affected their daily lives.
Clare Jenkins, 44, from Cambourne, Cambridgeshire, contracted Covid this month after her 13-year-old daughter became infected at a party.
“The four of us in the house isolated when she tested positive and were all clear when her isolation period finished, but then four days later my husband started to get symptoms, and tested positive two days later, while I was still negative. A further two days later I also tested positive.”
Jenkins, who has an underlying health condition that puts her at higher risk, has been fully vaccinated since April, and her husband had also had both jabs when he fell ill with the virus.
“It did definitely come as a surprise when we got ill. My husband has been much more poorly with Covid than I was. We were really worried about him for a while – he had the full checklist of symptoms really badly for 10 days.
“We have had to cancel our only holiday planned for this year – two weeks in Cornwall – which we were really looking forward to after a very intense last 12 months. I am also supposed to be running the London marathon and it has massively derailed my training plans.
“But I still feel really grateful to have had the vaccine. It’s been a bit rubbish and we’ve missed out on a nice family holiday, but it’s not the end of the world, and I don’t want to imagine how bad things might have been had we not been fully jabbed.”
Simon Price, 54, a local government employee from Abingdon, Oxfordshire, thinks he caught the virus when he attended the Euros semi-final game between England and Denmark at Wembley stadium in July.
“I’ve worked religiously from home and took a bit of personal pride in being very cautious to protect my family since the pandemic began. Wembley was the only place I’ve visited apart from shops and the office on a couple of occasions in June. I hadn’t been socialising otherwise.
“By 9 July, two days after the match, I had tested positive. There was not much social distancing. I wore a mask, but was maybe one in a hundred who did.”
A few days after the game, Price, who was fully vaccinated, noticed symptoms, tested positive, and isolated from his wife at their home. “We slept in separate bedrooms for a good three weeks, and thankfully my wife stayed negative throughout. I was double-jabbed and am sure that has helped minimise symptoms. I’ve had worse common colds, though I was feeling unwell for two or three days and my taste is still not back 100%.”
Although the course of his Covid disease has been mild, the experience has put Price off making use of his restored freedoms.
“I have since sold my Wembley [stadium club] membership and decided I’m not going to go any more. I’m now only meeting one friend for walks with the dogs. We went to eat at a pub once, but apart from that I’m trying to keep away from people. I’m a traveller and socialiser and there is currently no joy in life, so I do look forward to getting back to mixing with people and travelling. I would still say to anyone: get vaccinated.”
Hannah McGuire, 28, from London, travelled to the Wilderness festival in Oxfordshire at the beginning of August with a group of friends, and stayed from Thursday to Monday.
“We had to show either a vaccine passport or proof of a negative lateral flow test to get in. Some of us tested positive for Covid the week after the festival, despite being double-jabbed, including myself, and we know others who attended who also got it, although the festival had been marketed as supposedly ‘Covid-secure’.”
McGuire had had her second vaccine at the beginning of June, and initially mistook her Covid infection for a bout of food poisoning. “Test and trace then confirmed that vomiting is also a symptom of Covid, in addition to brain fog, a cough, headaches and feeling tired, which I also experienced. It wasn’t nice.”
McGuire, a real estate project manager, is unsure about whether it was wise to socialise at a mass event at a time when the Delta variant was spreading rapidly. “I guess if you’ve got that many people together, even if outdoors, there’s always a risk that someone will get Covid.
“We’re all young, and none of us got seriously ill, but then again we might have come into contact with people who are more vulnerable. I’m glad we went as we hadn’t done anything for ages, and we’re going to another festival in London this weekend, now that we’ve had it and recovered.”