(Trends Wide) — When Candace and Terry Ayers received their second dose of the covid-19 vaccine in early March, it was a day of hope and excitement for the entire family.
“I took my parents to get that second dose and we were all very excited,” said his son Marc. “We are a family that believes in science. We believe in masks and we believe in vaccines. We were ready to get back to normal.” .
But her mother, Candace Ayers, died nearly six months after a July trip with her husband to Mississippi. His death certificate says that he died of covid-19.
His obituary, in the local newspaper, State Journal Register, in Springfield, Illinois, read in part:
Candace Cay (Kruger) Ayers, 66, of Springfield, passed away on September 3, 2021 at St. John’s Hospital in Springfield, IL. More than 4,531,799 more people infected with COVID-19 preceded her in death. . She was vaccinated, but other people who chose not to do it infected her. The cost was her life. “
Ayers believes her mother was infected when she visited Mississippi, a state where vaccination rates are among the lowest in the United States.
“All of this could have been prevented,” Ayers said. “This could have been prevented with a few acts of kindness. They were in a state that had one of the lowest vaccination rates in the country. Getting a vaccine and wearing a mask for others … if they had done that, she would be here. today.”
Mississippi has fully vaccinated 42% of its total population according to the state health department, making it one of the least vaccinated states in the country.
Because Candace had an underlying condition, her family doubted that she would leave town.
“My mother had severe rheumatoid arthritis. We were always more concerned about her getting it because she was immunocompromised,” Ayers said. “We were struggling to decide if they should have traveled. But things were looking so good, and with them fully vaccinated, we just had no problem with them going to Mississippi. The delta variant had just hit the radar. Post-vaccination contagion cases were rare at the time. Our worst nightmare came true. “
Post-vaccination cases occur when a fully vaccinated person becomes seriously ill or dies from COVID-19. Deaths among fully vaccinated people are rare, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Between the beginning of April and mid-July, during which time the delta variant was the dominant strain, fully vaccinated people accounted for 8% of all COVID-19 cases, 8% of hospitalizations, and 9% of cases. deaths, according to a CDC study published earlier this month.
And Candace was especially vulnerable because she was older and had an underlying health problem. About 70% of postvaccination cases that resulted in hospitalization occurred among adults 65 years of age and older, and about 87% of postvaccination cases that resulted in death were among adults 65 years of age and older, according to CDC data.
Ayers described that the family is having a hard time processing what has happened and wants to find a way to inspire others to get vaccinated and wear a mask. He believes presenting the stark reality of daily COVID-19 death numbers around the world at the time of writing his obituary would make people pause to take it in.
“This was to illustrate that this is not just a problem contained in the United States, but it has a global impact,” he said. “My mom was a fighter. She kept fighting and fighting and fighting. We wanted to show a point.”
According to Ayers, they have received both positive and negative comments about the obituary.
“It has been really wonderful to hear from friends and strangers about the obituary. Because of our history,” Ayers said, “people have told us that they are going to get vaccinated.”
“Of course, there are also negative comments, but most have been positive.”
Trends Wide’s Deidre McPhillips and Aya Elamroussi contributed to this report.