Obituary: The Unvaccinated Cost Grandma Her Life

Candace Ayers, who died of COVID-19, was frustrated by vaccine hesitancy
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 16, 2021 6:45 AM CDT
Obituary: The Unvaccinated Cost Grandma Her Life
Stock photo.   (Getty Images/gorodenkoff)

The family of a fully vaccinated grandmother who died from COVID-19 is urging unvaccinated people across the country to get the shot, if not to protect themselves, then to protect someone else. "She was preceded in death by more than 4,531,799 others infected with COVID-19. She was vaccinated but was infected by others who chose not to be. The cost was her life," reads the obituary for Candace Ayers of Springfield, Ill., who spent three weeks on a ventilator before dying Sept. 3. The 66-year-old, whose rheumatoid arthritis put her in the high-risk category, was "so angry at people for not getting vaccinated" at the first opportunity as she and her immediate family members did, her son, Mark, tells Today.

Fully vaccinated by April, she remained cautious but was cleared by her doctor to travel with her husband to Mississippi in July to visit an unvaccinated friend whose husband had died of COVID-19, reports the State Journal-Register. There, the couple dined at a restaurant where almost no one wore masks, family say. Ayers felt fatigued on the drive home and tested positive for COVID-19 on July 28. Her husband also tested positive but developed only mild symptoms. Ayers, on the other hand, developed a fever, nausea, and COVID-19-related pneumonia and was soon hospitalized. She remained in the hospital for the final month of her life.

"It was like hell" yet "this whole thing is so preventable," Mark Ayers, 36, tells the Journal-Register, which reports he received a call of support from Gov. JB Pritzker. "People have politicized this and made it about politics. These are the people who have perpetuated the cycle of pain for our family and so many others." He adds the unvaccinated who correctly state that 98% to 99% of people infected with COVID-19 survive are trivializing life, including his mother's. With the obituary, "we wanted to send a point" that had others worn masks and gotten vaccinated, "she would be here today," he tells CNN. And "because of our story, people have told us they are getting vaccinated." (Read more anti-vaxxers stories.)

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