CINCINNATI — When Daisy and Rachelle Caplan both received the Pfizer vaccine against COVID-19 back in February, they began looking forward to the promise of a summer vacation out west. Daisy is a local musician, whose band had suspended shows until September, and Rachelle is a teacher. So once the school year ended, they packed their bags and set out.
It wasn't long after when they began noticing they were starting to feel sick. While traveling, they got tested and confirmed they'd contracted COVID-19, with doctors telling them their symptoms were consistent with the virus' Delta variant.
"We really didn't abandon the mask in any public places,” Daisy Caplan said. “That's kind of the most baffling and scary part. Like, the only points in which I think we really took off masks was sitting at a table eating a couple times."
As of Tuesday, the couple was quarantined in a New Mexico hotel until their symptoms subside completely.
"It's not been the good time that we anticipated for sure," said Rachelle Caplan. "With the vaccine, the worst thing is the headaches and the congestion. And, also, earaches that were pretty excruciating."
Back home, Hamilton County public health commissioner Greg Kesterman told WCPO that doctors have documented 105 variants in Hamilton County, including three instances of the Delta strain.
"If you're in an area where it's crowded, like a workspace where you can't separate from others six feet apart, wearing a mask certainly is an option to help keep yourself safe. But, it's really important to remember the vaccine we have available to us right now is super effective against preventing illness," said Kesterman.
He said the vaccine is 95 percent effective and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said it blocks variants or makes symptoms less severe.
"I'm glad we got the vaccine,” said Daisy Caplan. “Again, both of us have lung problems that probably would have landed us in the hospital if we didn't get the vaccine."
Rachelle Caplan wonders if, as people get vaccinated, they are letting their guard down too soon.
"The parks are, I mean, they're so packed," she said. "They're so packed with people. So, even this idea of, you know, it's safe to be outside unmasked. Now I think we feel weary of that.
"A lot of folks I know got the vaccine, and they’re like, 'OK. It's all over.' But, clearly it's not. We still should be being cautious for ourselves and other people."
As for those who come in contact with people who have a variant, the health commissioner said they currently are not required to quarantine if they have the vaccine.