Nurse Ana Wilkinson worked on the frontlines in New York and most recently, Texas. She has been treating coronavirus patients since the pandemic began.
She was still going strong in early December, returning home from Texas. She was eager to be one of the first to receive the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine.
On Sunday, Dec. 13, Wilkinson tested negative, went back to work that Monday, got tested again and received the vaccine on Dec. 16. A few days later, she learned she had tested positive for the virus.
Wilkinson says she doesn't know when or how she contracted COVID-19. During that time, her husband, a firefighter, was potentially exposed at work, but he tested negative.
"I became short of breath, body aches, night sweats, the whole shebang, like I was out of energy, and I couldn't do anything," she said, explaining that she quickly went from feeling fine to very sick.
The experience reminded her of how life-changing COVID-19 can be.
"You think of all the people we've lost that could be your friend, your neighbor. I've seen that, and now, I'm going through COVID," Wilkinson said.
She told KGTV in San Diego that when in Texas, she worked in towns including Midland and Odessa, going through 10+ hour shifts with only three days off.
Wilkinson said she wanted to speak about this because she wanted to remind people that health care workers get sick too.
"We are human, 100% human, and if we're not there, who's going to treat your families?" she said.
She is reminding people to wear a mask, follow other health guidelines and get the vaccine if you can. She says the fact that she tested positive around the time she received the vaccine was unfortunate timing.
"I was so proud, honestly, still so proud that I got the vaccine," she said. "There's hope. There is hope."
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