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Arizona lawmaker says she tested positive for COVID-19 after receiving both doses of Pfizer vaccine

The CDC is studying "vaccine breakthrough cases," but says the vaccines are essential in defeating the virus.

PHOENIX — Rep. Alma Hernandez, a Democrat in the Arizona House of Representatives, sat in her car on Wednesday outside of the state Capitol, exhausted. 

"I honestly thought it was my allergies, but then I had this pounding migraine, and [I] thought this isn't normal," said Hernandez. 

Hernandez was tested for COVID-19, despite receiving both doses of the Pfizer vaccine nearly three months ago.

“I was told you’re positive with COVID,” she told 12 News in a phone call from her Phoenix home. 

“I have a pretty severe migraine and I can’t smell or taste anything right now. I’m just trying my best to stay hydrated and I obviously can’t leave my room so I’ve been in my room since yesterday." 

Hernandez is the eighth known Arizona lawmaker to confirm they have contracted the virus and the only one known to be fully vaccinated. Despite being fully vaccinated, she continued to wear her mask throughout the legislative session. 

“I thought back and I was trying to figure out who was I around, how is this possible. I thought about the Capitol, we don’t have any COVID protocols anymore. I’m constantly around people without a mask. But at the end of the day, it’s about what you do as an individual," said Hernandez.

RELATED: Arizona lawmaker says she tested positive for COVID-19 after vaccination

What you should know about the possibility of COVID-19 illness after vaccination

The Center for Disease Control calls these types of cases "vaccine breakthrough cases." 

The CDC is studying how just how common it is for fully vaccinated people to still contract COVID-19. 

"While these vaccines are effective, no vaccine prevents illness 100% of the time," according to the CDC. "For any vaccines, there are breakthrough cases." 

Both Pfizer, Moderna vaccines are more than 90% effective after both doses, Pfizer 95% and Moderna 94%

The CDC said a small percentage of people who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 will still get sick. 

The great thing we know about all of the vaccines is that when you get the vaccination it reduces the risk that you are going to get so sick that you are going to end up in the hospital. Almost to zero," said family physician Dr. Andrew Carroll.   

Carroll said the virus is still very much active in our community and the vaccine remains a critical tool in protecting yourself and others.

Most likely Rep. Hernandez was with a group of people with somebody who had the illness and non-vaccinated and that’s how she contracted it. I’ve been fully vaccinated; I still wear a mask when I go out to help protect myself a little and to show respect for those around me,” said Carroll. 

Hernandez hopes Arizonans continue to get vaccinated - and keep their guard up

“We can’t pretend that this pandemic is over. We should be doing everything we can to keep ourselves and our communities and family members safe. Especially those who are more susceptible to getting sick,” said Hernandez.   

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