Missouri man, 26, regrets not getting vaccinated after COVID-19 battle

Published: Jul. 26, 2021 at 3:03 PM EDT
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MONETT, Mo. (KY3/Gray News) - A 26-year-old Missouri husband and father is sharing his story about his battle with COVID-19 in hopes others will opt to get vaccinated.

Kole Eden of Monett didn’t feel the need to get vaccinated against the disease several months ago because he was young and in good health, but KY3 reports he recently contracted the virus and needed emergency care.

“(I) started having breathing issues, feeling like I couldn’t breathe,” Eden said. “There was a day when I felt like I was having a heart attack. My pulse was jumping up and all over the place, and my oxygen levels were kind of going crazy.”

Eden went to the emergency room, and he started thinking about the severity of the illness.

“I have two children. I have a wife. And you know, if I hadn’t made it, they’d be left without me, and I can’t do that to them. It’s not right,” Eden said.

As the delta variant spreads across southwest Missouri, more younger people are ending up in the intensive care unit.

Mercy Hospital in Springfield had 155 COVID-19 patients seeking care. Thirty-six of them were under 40 years old and unvaccinated.

“I just remember sitting in the hospital and just thinking to myself, ‘You could have avoided this, you could have made the smart decision to get a vaccine,’” Eden said. “There are side effects to the vaccine, but the side effects aren’t worse than this. I can promise that.”

Health officials say that vaccines are the key to avoiding hospitalizations.

“I just don’t want anyone to feel the way that I felt,” Eden said. “You know we can save lives by doing the right thing.”

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