Copy of Page 3 Rick Bockes.jpeg

Despite being vaccinated, InsideNoVa advertising account executive Rick Bockes was diagnosed with COVID-19 in mid-July and is still dealing with lingering symptoms.

Rick Bockes keeps counting the days.

Tuesday was day 13 for the headache. The cough lasted 19 days.

Saturday was a month since he was diagnosed with COVID-19.

“It’s been no fun, that’s for sure,” he said.

Bockes, an advertising account executive for InsideNoVa who lives in Prince William County, received a COVID-19 vaccine earlier this year but has one of the rare breakthrough cases of the virus. He’s been to the hospital three times and attributes his survival to the vaccine.

A breakthrough infection is defined as one occurring more than 14 days after a person is fully vaccinated. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, breakthrough cases are not unique to the COVID-19 vaccine and can occur with any immunization.

The Virginia Department of Health reported that, as of Aug. 13, there had been 4,056 cases of COVID-19 in people who were fully vaccinated. The number translated to 0.086% of all fully vaccinated people. Of those cases, 233 people were hospitalized and 52 have died.

In comparison, more than 98% of cases, 97% of hospitalizations and 98% of deaths have been in people who are not fully vaccinated.

Bockes, 63, took a vacation in mid-July and visited family in Wytheville in Southwest Virginia. He went to a brewery with his wife, son, brother and sister-in-law and thinks that’s where he contracted the virus.

The family had dinner, and then Bockes and his brother stayed behind to watch a band.

“I kind of let my guard down,” he said. “I didn’t wear a mask.”

A few days later he started coughing. Then it got worse and was accompanied by chest pain. He went to the emergency room and, after several scans, took a COVID-19 test and it came back positive.

Bockes’ brother also tested positive for the virus but recovered in about 10 days. Bockes hasn’t been so lucky.

Bockes was exhausted from deep coughing fits. Although the vaccine can lessen symptoms of the virus, there are still chances it will be severe.

“I expected this to be better in a few days when I first got it and it didn’t get any better,” he said.

Bockes can tell his lung capacity is depleted as he gets out of breath talking, walking or climbing stairs. Some days he was so out of breath he stayed in bed all day, leaving only for bathroom breaks.

“It’s so much worse than a regular cold,” he said.

Bockes is slowly easing himself back into work but is still dealing with a lingering headache and fatigue. Throughout his battle with the virus, he’s been on a regimen of medicines to lessen symptoms.

Bockes urged anyone who hasn’t been vaccinated to get the shot. He also said even if you are vaccinated, still take precautions around large crowds. He said it’s better to be safe.

“I personally believe if I hadn’t had the vaccine,” he said, “I don’t think I would have made it.”

Nolan Stout covers Prince William County. Reach him at or @TheNolanStout on Facebook and Twitter.


(3) comments

Tom Manson

More than 98% of cases, 97% of hospitalizations and 98% of deaths have been in people who are not fully vaccinated. Facts are facts.

George Lawton

I’m sure “Tom” LOL

George Lawton

I don’t mean to laugh, and hope he feels better but I don’t know what it’ll take to wake these idiots up. Keep getting shots, wear a mask, obey stay in your house LOL…15 days to slow the spread.

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