Louisiana is one of the hardest-hit states for new covid cases with the highest number of infections since the winter leading to a surge in hospitalizations. The unvaccinated are driving the latest surge in infections.
Baton Rouge resident Brandon Haynes, 46, was unvaccinated and died of the covid virus. His mother, Betty Antoine, decided to hold a vaccine drive at his funeral.
Brandon told his mom and his friends that he had done the research and wanted to wait, but Antoine said her son left out an important health detail to his friends, Local 12 reported.
“I begged him, I said, ‘You need to take the vaccine, Brandon.’ ‘Oh, no, mom, I’m not going to take it. And you better not take the vaccine either,'” Antoine said to CBS News.
“He did not tell his friends all the underlying health conditions he had. He had a bad heart. He had lung problems, COPD,” she said. According to Antoine, her son had been told by his doctor that he needed to be vaccinated, CNN reported.
Brandon tested positive for covid, was hospitalized on June 3 with breathing problems, and died on June 9.
“First of all, I was so full with… I want to be angry. I was kind of angry, not so much at him, but because he did not take the vaccine,” his mother said. “And I said, right then I’m going to ask his friends and everybody to take that vaccine in honor of him.”
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During her son’s memorial service, Antoine requested that family members and friends who had not been vaccinated do so in honor of Haynes. A friend who administered vaccines for a local hospital hosted a vaccine drive at the memorial. Three people were vaccinated that day, CNN reported.
Praise for Antoine’s actions poured in on Twitter. “Turning her pain upside down to help other people? That’s the definition of unselfishness,” Joan Crenshaw (No Relation to Dan) @Joan_1951 tweeted.
Lissa Moira @LissaMoira praised Antoine’s actions. “Oh that it should come to this! Condolences and gratitude that you could turn your grief into such immediate action to save others. True American Hero!”
“I just want people to know it can happen to you. I never thought that it would never happen to me, but it can happen to you. And once you lose a loved one, for a reason that he could have been saved. It really hurts,” Antoine said.
Black people have been getting vaccinated at a lower rate than other groups, The New York Times reported.
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