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A Brooklyn man found out on Monday that he’d tested positive for the coronavirus — more than two weeks after getting the jab.
Matthew Sambolin, 39, told The Post that though he opted for the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine because it was “convenient,” he now wishes he’d gotten the Pfizer or Moderna shot instead.
“The risk was there, I was willing to take it. Now I’m wishing I made a different decision,” he said in a phone call from the spare bedroom of his Bath Beach home, where he’s currently quarantining.
Sambolin said he was experiencing minor symptoms, including a light cough and fatigue.
While a rapid test he took Saturday came back negative, a PCR test, which is more accurate, returned positive for COVID-19 on Sunday, according to documentation he provided.
“It was a shock,” Sambolin said of learning about his positive test on Monday.
An operations manager for two local radio stations, Sambolin said he had “no ambivalence” about the COVID vaccine and had been looking forward to getting his.
“I wanted to help get the herd immunity up,” he said.
Sambolin also said he thought it was important to get vaccinated to help keep safe his young daughter Nora, who is almost two, and for the sake of the employees he manages.
He got the shot on March 24 at the NYPD Community Center in East New York, according to his vaccine card.
Sambolin wanted to get the J&J jab because he wanted to be vaccinated when he drove down to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina that weekend.
On Wednesday — the two-week mark since he got his shot, which is when experts say he would be considered fully vaccinated — Sambolin believes he was exposed to the virus via a co-worker who later tested positive for COVID.
Throughout the pandemic, Sambolin says he’s taken all the recommended precautions, including mask-wearing and social-distancing, and hasn’t been on public transportation in over a year, though he still goes to the office.
After finding out on Saturday that his colleague had come down with the bug, Sambolin and his wife got tested at their local CityMD. Both her rapid test and PCR were negative.
Sambolin said he decided to tell his story after seeing other coverage of people who’d gotten the J&J jab and then come down with COVID, including The Post’s stories about a Brooklyn woman who tested positive three weeks after her vaccine and a New Jersey man hospitalized with the virus five weeks after his shot.
Sporadic cases of post-vaccine horror stories have popped up in local news around the country. Health experts say that while vaccinated people can still catch the bug, the likelihood of that happening is far lower than in people who aren’t inoculated.
“The vaccine does not necessarily prevent you from getting COVID. It prevents you from being hospitalized or dying from it,” Dr. Kris Bungay, a Manhattan primary care physician, previously told The Post. “That is why we all still have to be careful.”
“It was not common in the clinical trials for patients to be symptomatic after getting vaccinated,” Bungay added.
Moderna’s and Pfizer’s two-dose vaccines are 94% and 95% effective, respectively, at preventing symptomatic coronavirus infections after two doses, according to the CDC. The single-dose J&J vaccine only provides 66% protection.
Sambolin said he hoped more people would consider that data before getting their shot.
“I still think getting vaccinated is still definitely the way to get to herd immunity,” he said, but “I hope that they consider really weighing the different effectiveness.”
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