If I get vaccinated, is protection lost?
Payten McCall, 24, and her family were afraid to get vaccinated, but now she is asking people not to make that mistake after losing her older brother and father to COVID-19.
His father, Mark McCall, 60, died early Friday in the covid-19 ward of a Jacksonville, Florida hospital, where his mother, Sherry McCall, 58, was also being treated for the virus.
He said his mother was well enough to go home Friday night, but is heartbroken after losing her eldest son and her husband of more than 38 years.
The family was afraid to get vaccinated, McCall said, because they have health problems and did not know how their bodies would react to the vaccines.
"We were not trying to convince anyone not to get vaccinated," he said.
"We didn't care about people's decisions, but unfortunately we were wrong."
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The number of cases and hospitalizations for covid-19 has increased in recent weeks due to the spread of the delta variant, which is highly contagious, and health authorities warn that unvaccinated people are at greater risk.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that 49.5% of the US population is fully vaccinated, as of Friday morning, and that 57.9% of people older than 12 years are vaccinated.
The rate of vaccination against covid-19 in the United States has increased steadily in the last three weeks, especially in several southern states with low vaccination rates, according to a CNN analysis of CDC data.
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Last visit to dad
McCall said she had tested negative for COVID-19 and had received her first dose of the vaccine since her parents were hospitalized.
She and her fiancé donned a double mask and full PPE on Thursday to visit their father for the last time.
McCall commented that her dad was tired and on a lot of medication, but struggled to stay coherent as she took his hand and rubbed his head.
"I couldn't hug him or kiss him, but I caressed him and let him know that I was there and that I was proud of him for having come so far," she said.
"I managed to tell him that I loved him and that he was fine and that he had me vaccinated. He told me that he knew and that he loved me too."
Mark and Britt McCall, in a 2006 family photo, worked together in the maintenance department of Duval County Public Schools.
He said his brother Britt fell ill around July 4 and was taken directly to the ICU when he went to the emergency room for treatment.
Britt's fiancee also caught COVID, and her mother and grandmother died from it within five days, according to McCall.
He added that his brother seemed fine until he had to connect to a respirator.
"After a couple of days, he wanted to go home, so he tried to do everything he could to go home," he said.
"He struggled for three weeks to get home and suffered complications from covid and failed."
Her parents contracted COVID-19 a week after Britt, McCall said.
They had been close to other relatives, who fell ill at about the same time.
He said his mother was immediately hospitalized, but his father's symptoms weren't that severe, so he was told to self-quarantine at home.
He got worse and had to be admitted nine days later.
"People envied what a good dad he was"
McCall said her dad was her hero and that he did everything he could to make sure she didn't want or need anything - he was going to fill her car with gas even after she was an adult.
"My God, we were so close," he said.
"We literally had one of the best relationships a father and daughter can have."
Mark was a manager in the Duval County Public Schools Milling Shop and worked with Britt.
Sherry is a media specialist in the district.
Britt McCall died on July 26 after contracting Covid-19 around July 4.
"Dad could do anything. He could fix your car - he didn't know anything, but he could fix it - and he was the best craftsman I've ever seen," she said.
"I don't know how anyone could fill the shoes my father left behind. He was very loved by many people, and still is."
McCall said that she and her brother, Cason McCall, 31, grew up in Britt's shadow because he was a great athlete with "the most beautiful blue eyes," and he was "the kindest and most generous person I have ever met. ".
He said that Britt was his guide and that he always knew what to say, "especially in situations like this."
"Cason and I are having a hard time coping because Britt was good at everything and he was good at things like this," he said.
"I love Cason and I feel sorry for him because he has to be the leader and he has to protect us. There is only him, my mother and me."
Getting vaccinated by the people you care about
McCall said he regrets many things and wishes he could go back in time and make different decisions.
She said her father "had to be there for so many things," including their wedding next May.
"I really wanted him to take me down the aisle and he won't be there," he said.
"And it's all because we were afraid. We were afraid to get vaccinated and we were afraid of everything."
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She wants people who think it can't happen to them to know that she thought that too until her family got sick.
"All the people who are afraid of getting vaccinated, do it!" He said.
"Do it for the people you care about, because I don't think you want to see them suffer as we are suffering now."
coronavirus Covid-19 vaccine against covid-19