KINGSPORT, Tenn. (WJHL) – A Kingsport woman tested positive for COVID-19 while she was returning from vacation, but she said her vaccination kept her from having more severe symptoms.

Louise Dickson is one of the about 1,600 people in Tennessee to test positive for COVID-19 after receiving the vaccine. Over 2 million Tennesseans are fully vaccinated.

Breakthrough cases are extremely rare, but usually display mild symptoms because the vaccine has taught the body how to fight off the virus.

Now, Dickson wants to use her experience to convince unvaccinated friends and family that the vaccine is safe and effective.

“Anybody can get COVID, but if you at least have the vaccination you can have some protection from the severity of the illness,” Dickson said.

Dickson went on vacation with her husband and another couple to Florida, making stops in South Carolina and Georgia. She reported no issues prior to the trip.

“I had no symptoms,” Dickson said. “I was fine and felt very secure with my vaccine.”

She had been vaccinated since March. On Monday, July 26, Dickson began to feel what she thought was a cold coming on. She treated herself with basic cold medications.

“We had stayed in a couple different hotels and I thought it was from being in and out of the air conditioning,” Dickson said.

Dickson had not taken a vacation in two years and did not think the illness could be COVID-19 because of her vaccination status. She wanted to stick it out and enjoy the trip. On the way home, things changed. She began experiencing a symptom all too familiar over the last year and a half: the loss of taste and smell.

“I had to ask my husband, how did that peach cobbler taste to you?” Dickson said. “I thought it was just bland peach cobbler.”

She also recalled not being able to smell Vaporub used to treat her supposed cold symptoms.

Dickson picked up a testing kit from a drug store on the way back to Kingsport on Sunday, and then tested positive for COVID-19. She does not know where the infection came from.

Dickson’s husband and the couple they traveled with were also vaccinated. They were in close contact throughout the trip but none of them tested positive.

Dickson is now back home in Kingsport where she is recovering from the virus.

She urged anybody experiencing cold-like symptoms to get tested because it could be COVID-19.

Vaccinated people are still able to spread COVID-19.