Opelika Mayor: My COVID-19 vaccine protected me when I got sick


OPELIKA, Ala. (WRBL) – Opelika’s mayor credited his m-RNA COVID-19 vaccine with keeping him relatively symptom-free after he got sick with the virus.

Opelika Mayor Gary Fuller is quarantining this week after testing positive for COVID-19 last Tuesday, July 27. Mayor Fuller said he had some congestion, but he’s ready to go back to work as soon as his quarantine is over.

The east Alabama mayor is sharing his experience, hoping to clear up some confusion regarding the vaccines. While East Alabama Health says it’s possible to have breakthrough infections, the vaccine offers strong protection against severe illness that can land you in the hospital, on a ventilator, or death.

“I am convinced the reason my symptoms have been so mild is because I was vaccinated back in January,” said Mayor Gary Fuller.

On top of his vaccine, Fuller also received the COVID-19 infusion at EAMC.

“People like me who are positive can stay home, our symptoms are mild, and it’s because of the vaccine. I do hope folks will reconsider and get vaccinated. I hope you will think about it and consider it for your family. In the hospital today, the folks by and large are people who have not been vaccinated. That should tell you something,” said Fuller.

Dr. Fuller says he trusts the East Alabama Health experts to know what’s best for him, recalling an example shared with him by EAMC’s Chief of Staff, Dr. Michael Roberts.

“It’s like my friend Dr. Roberts said, if I were in a terrible car crash today, I would go to EAMC, and I would expect them to save my bacon, and I know they would do everything possible to sustain me. Now, the same folks we trust with our lives are telling us we should get vaccinated, and I trust those guys and gals,” said Fuller.

The CDC says fully vaccinated people with breakthrough infections can still spread the virus. The CDC is recommending indoor masking to provide a barrier against spreading respiratory droplets. Opelika City Schools, Auburn City Schools, Auburn University are now requiring masks indoors as the Delta surge continues.

“None of us like those masks, but our schools are trying to do the best they can and have in-person school, so based on local health care professionals are telling them, children and staff need to wear masks,” said Mayor Fuller.

On top of public health, Mayor Fuller is concerned about the local economy and fall football if cases continue to surge and vaccination rates lag. Alabama remains the last in the country in terms of vaccinations and is among the top in the nation for a surge in new cases.

“I want our folks to be healthy, and just behind that is our local economy. Now many of our merchants and hotels took a kick in the butt last fall because of COVID. We have a chance to have a real football season at Auburn University, Opelika High School, and Auburn High School, and all of our local games, but I think some of that may be in danger. The way it’s going now, I am very concerned about what the future holds for our community,” said Mayor Fuller.

Mayor Gary Fuller is urging everyone to speak with their doctor or a trusted medical expert about vaccinations.

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