Of those vaccinated for COVID-19,  very few contract the virus

By Barbie Porter


Joan Ketter was eager for May 8. It was the day her granddaughter Jaden Ketter was promising eternal love to Tanner Karger. Instead of shedding tears of joy and celebrating with family, Ketter ended up quarantined in the hospital, missing the wedding and spending Mother’s Day alone.

However, shortly after being admitted to Essentia Health St. Mary’s in Detroit Lakes, Ketter was told she was lucky. 

“They told me I would be walking out,” she recalled. “They had carried many out, but because I had my COVID shot, I would be walking out. With a little oxygen and medicine, I did.”

Ketter emphasized she was willing to share her story with the hopes of encouraging those on the fence about the vaccine, to reconsider and get vaccinated.

A 3 percenter 

contracts COVID-19 

after vaccination

Ketter is one of the nearly 3 percent of U.S. citizens who have compromised immune systems. About 12 years ago she was given the dubious honor when she was diagnosed with a form of blood cancer.

Being at risk, Ketter eagerly got vaccinated against COVID-19 this past February. She was warned that there was a slim chance she could contract COVID-19, even after being vaccinated.

When May swung around, Ketter thought her allergies were acting up. After all, she had been doing yard work and the pollen count had been high. 

“So, I went on with my day,” she said. “Then, I started feeling tired and weak.”

One of Ketter’s grandchildren learned she hadn’t been feeling well, and began sending texts of encouragement for her to go  see a doctor.

“That was on Thursday,” Ketter recalled. 

By Saturday morning, Ketter was eager to get to the chapel for the afternoon ceremony. However, she  felt much worse and decided to go in to Essentia Health for a quick check up.

“I went in with the intentions of going to the wedding,” she said. “Shortly after I went in, and described my symptoms, they said that they thought I had COVID.”

Ketter questioned the quick diagnosis, as she did not have any of the common symptoms. She could taste, smell and her stomach wasn’t churning.

“I just felt congested,” she said. “I was put through all the tests you can think of and it came back positive for COVID.”

Even though she got COVID-19 after being vaccinated, she is thankful she got the shot. 

“Unknowingly giving it to others is my biggest fear,” she said.  “When I found out I had COVID, I asked if there was a chance I’d given it to others. I was told there was no chance because I had gotten both of my shots. That was very comforting.”

Being vaccinated also provided comfort to her caretakers at the hospital. She recalled being informed by a doctor, that had she not received the vaccine, he would not be sitting and  chatting in a chair next to her.

Ketter spent three nights and four days in the ICU COVID-19 unit. She received oxygen and Remdesivir treatments, of which five can be given. Ketter said they stopped at three as improvement was seen and like many medications, there can be adverse effects. She said Remdesivir, from what she learned, could have negative impacts on her liver and kidneys.

While recovering, Ketter said she had her own room. She learned at the height of the pandemic this last go around there were two patients to a room. Aside from herself, she reported the COVID wing had seven patients while she was there.

While being quarantined she was kept from friends and family, and missed keepsake moments. Helping her through that sadness were staff members at Essentia.

“They were excellent,” she said. “I was very impressed with how they handled everything. I got to know the nurses in the short time I was there.”

She said she also received texts and messages from her family, friends and pastor, who put out a prayer for her to get better. 

“Thank you for the many prayers, my sister Jan for several meals, good friends like Jay for the many delectables,  my Sugar and Spice Homemaker sisters for the assortment of goodies, and Carol for the hot dish meals,” she said. 

Ketter added she also found peace in the deep disappointment of missing her granddaughter’s wedding a proverb: “In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps.”

“Reading that helped me accept the whole thing,” she said.