A Nevada woman is sharing her family’s heartbreak after her fiance expressed regret about not getting the COVID-19 vaccine shortly before dying from the disease.
“He was only 39; our babies now don’t have a dad,” Jessica DuPreez told Las Vegas station KVVU. “You can’t say, ‘I’m young, and it won’t affect me.’ Because it will.”
DuPreez said she and her fiance, Michael Freedy, wanted to wait until the vaccine had been available for a year, to see how it might affect people.
“There was never any intention to not get it,” she said.
Shortly after the couple traveled to San Diego for vacation with their five kids, ages 1 to 17, DuPreez said Freedy fell ill from a bad sunburn and had to be admitted to an ER. There, he tested positive for COVID-19 and his health went downhill.
“He’s panicking, saying how he doesn’t wanna die and he doesn’t wanna leave his babies without a dad,” DuPreez told USA Today.
Scans showed that he contracted pneumonia in both of his lungs. He eventually had to be placed on a ventilator and, against his wishes, forcefully sedated, DuPreez said in a GoFundMe post.
She told KVVU that his last text message to her was, “I should have gotten the damn vaccine.”
“Hug your loved ones. Because it turned so fast,” she wrote on the GoFundMe page. “And I would give practically anything to hear Mike say my name and hug me and be able to tell him I love him more than ever.”
Since Freedy’s diagnosis, DuPreez said she has gotten vaccinated, as has her oldest child. She is now encouraging anyone who is on the fence about getting the vaccine purely because of side effect concerns to get it.
“Everybody can have a bad reaction to any vaccine throughout history but I would take a bad reaction to the vaccine over having to bury my husband,” she told CNN.
More than 610,000 people have died from COVID-19 in the U.S. since the start of the pandemic in early 2020, according to the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention.
While deaths have generally continued to decline nationwide since vaccines became available, there has been an uptick in COVID-19 deaths in recent weeks, due to the more-contagious delta variant of the virus.
The CDC last week reversed its earlier mask guidance and now recommends that all people ― regardless of vaccination status ― wear masks when indoors in parts of the country where there’s a substantial risk of COVID-19 transmission. That’s more than half of the country, according to the latest data.