‘It could have been a lot worse’: San Antonio family gets COVID-19 despite vaccinations

Four of five family members test positive, show mild symptoms

‘It could have been a lot worse’: San Antonio family gets COVID-19 despite vaccinations
‘It could have been a lot worse’: San Antonio family gets COVID-19 despite vaccinations

SAN ANTONIO – Four out of five members of a San Antonio family contracted COVID-19 despite being fully vaccinated. They say they are thankful that their symptoms were mild and encourage others to be vaccinated.

When Karen Marvel Shute felt tired and crummy, she thought she had a sinus infection. So, she went to an urgent care doctor.

“They said, ‘Okay, let’s go ahead and take a test,’ and, while I was there, they said, ‘You’re positive.’” And I said, ‘I’m what?’” she said. “I was shocked.”

She was shocked because she had been fully vaccinated.

“Actually, during the snowstorm, we managed to get (vaccinated) and were all done March 9th with the second round,” Marvel Shute said. “So, we felt very confident, and I still feel confident.”

After her diagnosis, the entire family got tested. Her husband, Tom, and two of the three young adult children tested positive, though they may never have known it had they not been tested.

“The worst that happened to me. It was like a bad allergy attack, " said Tom Shute.

Like her mother, the eldest daughter felt tired. And, the son, except for short-lived sniffles, was asymptomatic.

The Shutes are among what are called breakthrough cases -- people who still contract the virus even after full vaccination. Locally, approximately 800 breakthrough cases have been reported, a tiny fraction of the more than 1 million people who’ve been fully vaccinated.

While immunized people can still get infected, doctors say serious illness is rare, and symptoms are typically quite mild. They also say breakthrough cases generally get the virus from unvaccinated people.

The Shutes don’t know where they picked up the virus or even who was first. It likely happened around the Fourth of July. They say they are grateful for their medical care, which included infusions of monoclonal antibodies and the vaccine.

“I’m very thankful we got it, thinking about how bad it could have been if we had not had that boost in our immune system,” Tom said. “We could have ended up in the hospital.”

Karen, still recovering and easing back into her workload as an attorney, urges everyone to get vaccinated.

“I’m pretty tired and disappointed. I’m not back at work, but I will be,” she said. “And that’s better than the alternative.”


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About the Authors:

As a consumer reporter, Marilyn is all about helping people stay safe and save a buck. Since coming to KSAT in 1985, she’s covered everything from crime to politics, winning awards for her coverage of the Mexican Mafia, Oklahoma tornadoes, children’s transplants, an investigation into voting irregularities and even a hit-and-run Santa Claus.

Joshua Saunders is an Emmy award-winning photographer/editor who has worked in the San Antonio market for the past 20 years. Joshua works in the Defenders unit, covering crime and corruption throughout the city.