Three weeks after refusing to get the Covid-19 vaccine in January, a Texas man needed a rare double lung transplant. Now he is asking others not to make the same mistake he made and get vaccinated that the first opportunity.
Joshua Garza, 43, of Sugarland, told CNN that he didn’t get a vaccine because he was worried about its safety and thought he could avoid getting infected by following health measures.
In late January, he tested positive and tried self-medicating at home but ended up becoming severely ill. He collapsed while trying to walk in his house a few days later and his wife called for an ambulance to take him to the hospital.
“I was just opposed to it,” Garza said of the vaccine. “I didn’t want to be the guinea pig.“ Covid attacked his lungs. “It was quick, it was within 3 weeks, the lungs were already shot.”
Luckily, Garza was matched up with a donor within weeks and underwent a successful couble-lung transplant on April 13. It took him several weeks to recover and he was finally released from Houston Methodist hospital on May 27 with a vaccination gospel to preach.
“If I knew what I know now, I would have definitely went through with the vaccination,” Garza said, hoping his story can help others.
The Houston Methodist has carried out eight double lung transplants on Covid-19 patients so far, according to Dr. Howard Huang, the medical director of lung transplantation at the hospital.
If Garza had taken the vaccine, “it’s likely that we would have never gotten to this point,” Huang said. Even if Garza had ended up in a hospital, the data shows that vaccines can prevent severe illness.
CNN noted that Garza has diabetes and high blood pressure, conditions that make him particularly vulnerable to the virus and that gave him earlier access to the vaccine.
Cases of double-lung transplants are on the rise due to the Covid-19, with hospitals across the U.S. reporting a rise in need for lung transplants for severe coronavirus cases, according to the Cleveland Clinic, one of the top-ranked U.S. medical centers.
Other stories of people needing double-lung transplants include Allen Herrera, who spent six months in hospital due to covid-19, and a 17-year-old Texas teen.
Both had to get double-lung transplants to survive and are asking people to get the vaccine.
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