A woman in Missouri was afraid of the side effects from COVID-19 vaccines and chose not to get the shots, but later contracted the Delta variant of the novel coronavirus and died in the hospital.
Deborah Carmichael, the mother of now-deceased 45-year-old Tricia Jones, is speaking out and urging those hesitant about the vaccine to get the jab after losing her daughter in June. She spoke to Kansas City’s news channel Fox 4 WDAF-TV about her daughter’s death and vaccine hesitancy in an interview broadcast this week.
“She was afraid of the side effects, I think. You hear a lot of horror stories. I, myself, when I had the shot, it was rough, so it scared her and freaked her out. So she didn’t want to do it. I couldn’t convince her,” Carmichael told the Missouri news channel.
Jones, who resided in Grain Valley, was a mother of two, including her 18-year-old daughter Adriana, who just graduated from high school. The teen told Fox 4 that her mother was her “best friend.”
“There were so many days where I would just stand there next to my mom and say, ‘Wake up, mama, wake up.’ She would never wake up, and I just wish that she would. I don’t think anyone should have to go through what we went through. Especially with the variant,” the daughter said.
Carmichael urged everyone to take the pandemic seriously and get vaccinated. “Please take this seriously. You don’t want to see a family member you love go through this,” she said.
Jones was reportedly hospitalized on May 9. She was then placed on a ventilator and died on June 9.
“After she got it, she said, ‘Mom you were right, about the shot, about masks, being diligent and all that.’ I was like, ‘I don’t want to be right. I want you to be well. That’s all that matters,'” Carmichael said.
Missouri continues to have one of the lowest vaccination rates in the U.S., ranking above just 11 other states, according to a New York Times tracker. Just under 56 percent of the state’s adult residents have received at least one shot of the vaccine while just under 49 percent are fully vaccinated. Comparatively, Maine, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont have more than 70 percent of their adult populations fully vaccinated. Experts have posited that about 70 percent of a population needs to be vaccinated against COVID-19 to achieve herd immunity.
A survey conducted by Gallup from May 18 to 23 found that about a quarter (24 percent) of U.S. adults do not plan to get vaccinated. Of those in the vaccine hesitant group, 78 percent said they are “unlikely” to change their mind about the vaccine while 51 percent said they are “not likely at all” to adjust their plans regarding vaccination against COVID-19.
Public health officials, religious leaders and lawmakers have repeatedly assured the public that the vaccines are safe and highly effective at preventing severe COVID-19. Former President Donald Trump and President Joe Biden have both received the vaccine and have urged all U.S. adults to follow their example.
Newsweek reached out to the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services for comment.