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'It's been really hard': Vaccinated mom regrets not wearing mask to protect children from COVID-19

A California mother said she regrets not continuing to wear a mask after being vaccinated, now that her whole family has tested positive for COVID-19, including her young daughters.

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It is a rare breakthrough case. A California mother said she regrets not continuing to wear a mask after being vaccinated, now that her whole family has tested positive for COVID-19, including her young daughters.

"I wish we would have done things differently," said Emily Baker Hurley of Sacramento.

She and her husband loosened up on their COVID-19 precautions after getting their second Pfizer shot in April. Now, she said, her husband has a mild case of the disease and she has an asymptomatic case, but she is worried about her 5-year-old and 9-month-old daughters. They, of course, are too young to have been vaccinated.

"The kids have been really really sick — 103-degree fevers, diarrhea and vomiting," Baker Hurley said. "It's been especially scary with a baby."

With the delta variant and more people out socializing now, COVID-19 cases are increasing. The overwhelming majority are people who are not vaccinated, including children under 12 years old. The vaccines are not yet approved for children that young.

The American Academy of Pediatrics said Tuesday more than 23,550 child cases of COVID-19 were reported between July 8 and 15 — nearly double what was being reported in late June.

"The COVID cases are really shifting to younger ages, and that is because we've done a very good job of vaccinating the older age groups," said Dr. Dean Blumberg, a pediatric infectious disease expert from UC Davis Health.

While still in much smaller numbers, he said, vaccinated breakthrough cases are also on the rise. He said there might be more instances of it with the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine compared to Pfizer and Moderna based on preliminary data.

"Getting breakthrough cases doesn't mean the vaccines aren't working. They're still working very well to prevent the disasters we were having last year when hospitals and ICUs were overcrowded," Blumberg explained.

The director for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has called this the "pandemic of the unvaccinated." People who are unvaccinated account for more than 97% of COVID-19 cases in the hospital and almost all of the deaths.

However, the vaccines are not 100% effective. So, doctors say, those around people who are vulnerable, like children who are too young to be vaccinated, may still want to wear a mask indoors and in crowded places as an added layer of protection on top of being vaccinated.

Despite her family testing positive for COVID-19, Baker Hurley has no doubt that getting vaccinated still made a difference.

"Obviously my husband was not as sick as he would have been since we had the vaccine," she said.

Because of an underlying health condition, she believes he likely would have experienced complications with a more severe case of the disease had he not gotten the shot. Now, she is just worried about her children.

"It's been really hard and, of course, it was us who did this to them so that's been the worst part of it," Baker Hurley said.