By Beth Germano

PLYMOUTH, N.H. (CBS) – For 22-year-old Gunnar Consol there was elation after getting his single shot of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine on March 7.

“I felt relief, I got vaccinated and thought, ‘Alright, we’re in the home stretch,” Consol said.

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But a phone call put the brakes on that. The call came from the rapid response team at Plymouth State College, where Consol is a student, that he tested positive for COVID-19, three weeks to the day after getting vaccinated.

Gunnar Consol lost his sense of smell when he got COVID-19 even though he had been vaccinated. (WBZ-TV)

“It was definitely a punch in the gut to be vaccinated and think I’m clear from quarantine and having to isolate for 10 days,” said Consol. He had to cancel Easter plans to visit his family in Florida, move to all online classes, isolate in his apartment, and deal with being a statistic of getting COVID after vaccination. “I’m one of three in the entire state, which is crazy. I never thought I’d have these odds for something that’s not really ideal.”

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“The odds might be small, but since vaccines still aren’t 100 percent effective, it’s not unusual,” said epidemiologist Dr. Paul Sax. “The risk of COVID is not just changed by getting vaccine. It also depends on how much COVID is in your community and the activities you do.”

Vaccination usually means milder symptoms. For Consol, it meant losing his sense of smell and taste along with headaches and a lingering cough.

Dr. Sax said even with a case like Consol’s, vaccines are the best defense. “It’s important to understand vaccines are wonderful. Vaccines prevent severe illness and hospitalizations and also prevent deaths.”

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For now, Consol will have to be medically cleared to return to his sport of track and field, but he’s thankful the ordeal is over. “Just thinking I had the vaccine, then I got it. What are the odds of that?”

Beth Germano