LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — A Las Vegas father who contracted COVID-19 while on vacation texted his fiancée from the hospital, “I should have gotten the damn vaccine,” she told 8 News Now.
Michael Freedy, 39, a father of five, and his fiancée, Jessica du Preez, traveled with their family to San Diego in mid-July.
When Freedy returned home, he developed a painful skin rash, du Preez shared.
“He was getting chills, couldn’t eat, couldn’t get comfortable, couldn’t sleep,” du Preez said. “All symptoms of sun poisoning.”
He later tested positive for coronavirus and developed difficulty breathing with pneumonia in both lungs, du Preez said.
“Oh my [expletive] God. This is terrible,” Freedy sent du Preez in a text message from the hospital. “I should have gotten the damn vaccine.”
“I went to the ICU that night to see him after getting one of the worst phone call updates ever,” du Preez wrote in a GoFundMe post. “The nurse told me to contact next of kin and to take all of his belongings home with me.”
Du Preez said Freedy died in the hospital Thursday morning.
“We were just holding off, and now to think that if we just had gotten the shot a week before or a month before when one of our jobs had a vaccination thing, he could still be here,” she told us.
Both du Preez and her eldest child got the first dose of the vaccine when Freedy was admitted to the hospital, she said. She shared there was never an intention not to get vaccinated, she just wanted to wait about a year to see the vaccine’s long-term effects.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention officials have said any long-term effects from the vaccine would appear within the first two months after vaccination. They continue to stress the importance of vaccination.
Du Preez hopes her family’s story prompts others to take the virus seriously and avoid a similar tragedy. A GoFundMe for the family had raised nearly $20,000 as of noon Friday.
While the majority of Nevadans 70 and older have received at least one dose of the vaccine, the state is struggling to get younger people to get the shot.
As of Wednesday, the latest day with data available, 53% of adults in Clark County between the ages of 20 and 39 had received at least one dose of the vaccine.
As of Friday, more than 47% of Nevadans eligible for the vaccine were fully vaccinated, and 57% of the eligible population had initiated vaccinations. Clark County reported that more than 46% of its eligible residents were fully vaccinated Friday, edging closer to its goal of 60%.
Hospitals across Nevada reported that the majority of patients hospitalized with coronavirus were unvaccinated.