Michael Freedy, a Las Vegas father of five, died from the coronavirus Thursday after sending his fiancee a text expressing his regret at not getting the COVID-19 vaccine, FOX5 reported.
Jessica DuPreez, Freedy’s fiancee, said that he sent her a text while he was in the hospital that said: “I should have gotten the damn vaccine.”
“He is only 39. Our babies now don’t have a dad,” DuPreez said, sharing her story to encourage others to get the vaccine. “You can’t say I am young and it won’t affect me because it will.”
According to a GoFundMe launched by DuPreez, Freedy first went to the hospital after suffering a severe sunburn while on vacation in San Diego. At the hospital, he was tested for COVID-19 and the results came back positive.
Soon after, Freedy’s condition deteriorated, and within a few days he was put on a ventilator at the hospital.
One image of a text message conversation shared on GoFundMe shows Freedy saying: “Alright well I tried. They are taking me to ICU.”
DuPreez said that she and Freedy had decided to wait a year after the vaccine had been released to the public before receiving it themselves in case people experienced serious side effects. She says it is a decision she regrets and that she and her oldest child have now been vaccinated.
“I just wanted to reach out and thank all of you who have helped us. All who have reached out with a friendly word,” DuPreez wrote on the GoFundMe. “The love of my life, my rock, my everything. The father to my babies, is no longer with us. I don’t know what to do.”
As of Friday afternoon, the GoFundMe for Freedy’s children and fiancee had surpassed $16,000.
Freedy’s story is the latest in a series of unvaccinated people contracting the coronavirus and expressing regret in their decision not to get the COVID-19 shot.
A woman in Alabama recently urged people to get the vaccine and said she regretted not getting it after her son died following a months-long battle with the virus. A doctor in Arkansas, which has one of the lowest vaccination rates in the country, said his patients have expressed regrets to him about not getting the vaccine after facing hospitalization and serious health effects.
The Associated Press reported in June that nearly all coronavirus deaths in the U.S. are now among the unvaccinated.
Vaccination rates in the U.S. have plateaued in recent weeks, prompting renewed efforts from the federal government to urge Americans to get the COVID-19 shot and prevent hospitalizations and deaths from the more highly contagious delta variant.
President Biden this week suggested renewed cash incentives for the vaccine, and said he would like to see local governments, private companies and schools move toward vaccine mandates.