Yet another person who was afraid of getting the COVID vaccine has died of COVID-19.
According to NBC News, bride-to-be Samantha Wendell (above) passed away last week after missing her wedding while hospitalized with the virus. She had spent nearly the last two years planning her dream wedding to fiancé Austin Eskew, but their August 21 nuptials were put on hold when the couple contracted the virus last month.
Samantha, a surgical technician from Kentucky, had put off getting vaccinated after hearing false information from her co-workers that the shots led to infertility. The Centers for Disease Control, OB-GYN groups, and health experts have repeatedly debunked this false claim, emphasizing that the COVID-19 vaccines don’t cause infertility and are entirely safe for hopeful or expecting moms.
Sadly, Samantha unfortunately let the unsubstantiated rumor get the best of her — and even though she ended up changing her mind and decided to get vaccinated as the delta variant ripped through the US, it was tragically too late.
The bride-to-be made appointments for her and her fiancé for the end of July, but after her bachelorette party a week prior, she started feeling sick and tested positive for COVID-19. Eskew, who got it too, said:
“She could not stop coughing.”
Neither of the pair had preexisting health conditions, and Eskew’s symptoms were mild. However, Wendell’s condition only got worse, and she was hospitalized for six weeks starting in August.
Wendell was put on a ventilator five days before their planned wedding date. Just before that, she asked doctors if she could get a COVID-19 vaccine. Her mother Jeaneen Wendell said:
“It wasn’t going to do any good at that point, obviously. It just weighs heavy on my heart that this could have easily been avoided.”
Wendell’s family decided to take her off life support on September 10, and she died that day. The church where she had planned to get married will now be the site of her funeral.
Unsurprisingly, Eskew, who had been with Wendell since meeting during their freshman year orientation in college, is struggling without her. He shared:
“She had so much influence in everything that I do. We didn’t really ever do anything without the other in mind.”
Wendell’s cousin, Maria Vibandor Hayes, said she hopes others will learn from this tragedy and go get vaccinated, telling press:
“Misinformation killed her. If we can save more lives and families’ lives, then this is the gift she left for us to deliver.”
Amen to that.
Our hearts go out to her loved ones.
[Image via Blake-Lamb Funeral Home]