Since vaccinations for COVID-19 became widely available, there has been a flood of stories about anti-vaxxers and COVID conspiracy theorists dying of the disease they so passionately believed was a ‘hoax’. There is inevitably some degree of schadenfreude about these deaths, but it’s important to remember these are real people, with friends and family who love them. No matter how vehemently we might disagree with their politics, religion or beliefs about COVID-19 and vaccinations – we should never be glad about someone dying. In fact, we should be doing everything we can to prevent it.
Safe, thoroughly tested, vaccines are now widely available. Yet, a significant number of people are still refusing to have them. Unvaccinated people are nearly 30 times more likely to be hospitalised by COVID-19. In the United States, only about 1.1 per cent of COVID-19 deaths can be attributed to people who were either partially or fully vaccinated.
It is true that a COVID-19 vaccination will not necessarily stop you from contracting the virus – the same is true for flu vaccinations which are widely accepted. But results show that, if you are vaccinated, you are far less likely to become extremely ill, require hospitalisation, or die.
Millions of people have now been vaccinated with no ill effects, but people are still dying unnecessarily.
COVID-19 cannot be prevented or cured by alternative treatments. There are solid, scientific reasons why vitamins, hydroxychloroquine and Ivermectin won’t work. People who have been persuaded by these arguments are dying unnecessarily.
These are not ‘idiots’ or people of no consequence. Their deaths should not be dismissed. These are doctors, lawyers, athletes, community workers, politicians, broadcasters, singers, musicians, and athletes – many of them were healthy, young people with bright futures ahead of them.
Their grieving families are now left with the consequences of their loved-ones’ mistaken belief that they knew more than the vast majority of the world’s medical and scientific community; that they were somehow smarter than the experts – despite having none of the specialist training of the scientists who assure us that COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective. Tragically, many found it’s too late to discover you’re wrong when the nurse is intubating you.
Jodi Doering, an emergency room nurse from South Dakota, said that, even as they are dying, patients who refused vaccines and didn’t believe the virus was dangerous are screaming for some kind of magic (unproven, untested) medicine to cure them. It doesn’t exist. Doering says:
“Their last dying words are, ‘This can’t be happening, it’s not real.”
But it is happening – repeatedly. Perhaps, some who are sitting on the fence, might read a news report about an anti-vaxxer or conspiracy theorist who has died of COVID-19 and be persuaded to seek out a vaccination. But, I wondered how much more powerful it would be if all (or, at least, many) of these reports were compiled into an A-Z of anti-vaxxers and conspiracy theorists who gambled with their lives – and lost.
A – H Scott Apley, American City Councillor, 45
Republican city councillor, H Scott Apley, was anti-mask, anti-vax and anti-lockdown. He enjoyed mocking public health messages on Facebook. He was a proponent of mask burning and thought public health messages urging people to get vaccinated were “disgusting.”
In August 2021, Apley was admitted to hospital with pneumonia-like symptoms. He tested positive for COVID-19, was placed on a ventilator and died. Apley left behind a wife and a 5-month old son who both tested positive for the virus.
A GoFundMe page was set up to help pay his funeral expenses.
B – Gisèle Beaudoin, French-Canadian Country Singer
Canadian country singer, Gisèle Beaudoin, 70, believed that COVID-19 was a conspiracy. She didn’t believe in vaccines or masks. She sent video links to her family to try to convince them that COVID-19 was nothing to be concerned about, causing her sister to distance herself.
On 1 May 2021, on the same day that thousands of anti-vaxxers protested against COVID health measures on the streets of Montreal, Gisèle Beaudoin died of COVID-19.
Before she died, Gisèle asked her sister to tell her Facebook followers to get vaccinated.
C – Curt Carpenter, America, 28
Curt Carpenter from Alabama was a vaccine sceptic. He didn’t ‘believe’ in COVID-19. He thought it was a hoax.
Carpenter, a young man, who was overweight but otherwise had no underlying health problems, spent 51 days in intensive care battling the disease he didn’t believe exists, before losing his life to it in July 2021.
Curt’s mother said he changed his mind about the virus when he could not breathe without oxygen – the same day he was put on a ventilator. On that day he said, “This is not a hoax, this is real.”
D – Kyle Dixon, American State Prison Guard, 27
Kyle Dixon, 27, was a Donald Trump supporter. He believed the COVID-19 misinformation that was spread by the former President. Masks don’t work. The virus is a hoax. Only old people get sick. Dixon believed it all.
When he began to suffer symptoms of the virus, Kyle tried to treat it with cough medicine.
Kyle Dixon died on January 20, 2021. It is unlikely he was vaccinated given the beliefs prevalent in his family circle. Seven of Kyle’s family members fell ill with COVID-19.
While some members of the Dixon family understood the virus is real and can be deadly, others have clung to QAnon propaganda, even despite the young man’s untimely death.
“I wish that they could have been there his last days and watched him suffer,” his sister said.
E – John Eyers, British Fitness Enthusiast, 42
John Eyers, a British fitness enthusiast loved climbing mountains. Fit and healthy, he thought there was no need for him to get vaccinated. He had had asthma, but, otherwise, had no underlying health conditions. He didn’t want to put a vaccine in his body.
Ironically, after contracting COVID-19, Eyers’ body was pumped full of “every drug in the hospital” but to no avail. He died in August 2021, leaving behind a grieving mother and twin brother who wish he’d had the vaccine.
F – Dick Farrel, American Radio Host
Florida TV and radio personality, Dick Farrel called COVID-19 a “scam-demic.” He thought Dr Anthony Fauci was a “power tripping lying freak.” It made great radio.
“Why take a tax promoted by people who lied 2u all along about masks, where the virus came from and the death toll?” he posted.
Farrel is not broadcasting or posting any more. He died of COVID-19 in August 2021.
Before he died, Farrel changed his mind about the vaccine. “GET IT!” he texted his friends. “I wish I had gotten it.”
G – Hans Kristian Gaarder, Norway
Norwegian man, Hans Kristian Gaarder, believed the conspiracy theories that COVID-19 was a fake disease. When he became ill after two, large, illegal gatherings in his barn, he refused to believe he had been infected with the virus and did not seek medical treatment.
Mr Gaarder, who proudly claimed to have done “his own research”, is now dead.
G – Goncalves Family, Wales
The Goncalves, a Portuguese family living in Wales, were persuaded by anti-vaccination messages and refused COVID-19 vaccines. Now Basil, 73, Charmaine, 65 and their son Shaul, 40, are all dead after catching the virus.
The only surviving member of the family has urged others to have the vaccine that would have saved his parents and sibling.
H – Stephen Harmon, Hillsong Church Member, 34
Stephen Harmon, a member of Hillsong Church in America, wasn’t just evangelistic about Jesus, he was also spreading the word about the folly of having a vaccine to prevent COVID-19.
“Got 99 problems but a vax ain’t one,” he tweeted in June. Harmon regularly joked about the virus on social media, believing God would protect him.
Harmon asked for prayers after falling ill with COVID-19 in July 2021. He died in August 2021 after being intubated – knowing he may well not wake up.
H – Brent H, British Father, Early 50s
A British man, known only as Brent H, boasted in September 2019, “I’ve never taken a flu shot and I’ll never take a Covid shot.”
Brent bet on the fact that zinc and a vitamin D regimen would protect him against the disease more than any vaccine.
Brent H, who had no underlying health conditions, died of COVID-19 in June 2021. His daughter posted on social media, “I know he’s been saying otherwise, but PLEASE save your families this heartache. Go get your shot.”
I – Isabella’s Family – United States
Isabella, 21, was the only one in her family who didn’t buy into anti-vax, COVID-19 conspiracy theories. None of her family was vaccinated when her great-aunt and great-uncle both died of COVID-19 – despite having been eligible for a vaccination for months.
Now, having seen Isabella receive a vaccine with no ill-effects, more members of Isabella’s family have started getting vaccinated despite believing previously that the virus wasn’t serious.
J – Patient of Nurse Jessica, 14
A 14-year old girl died of COVID-19 after her anti-vaxxer parents refused permission for her to be intubated.
Jessica, the nurse who stroked the girls hair as she died, is convinced the child would have lived if she had been put on a ventilator.
The teenager had been looking forward to starting high school and wanted to be a vet.
K – Matthew Keenan, British Soccer Coach, 34
Matthew Keenan was a vaccine skeptic – until he caught COVID-19.
Keenan died of the virus in July 2021 after saying he wished he could turn back time.
K – Dr Stephen Karanja, Kenyan Catholic Doctor
Dr Stephen Karanja, chairman of the Kenya Catholic Doctors Association, was an outspoken opponent of COVID-19 vaccinations. Karanja believed that the vaccine was “totally unnecessary” and the motivation “suspect.” He was not supported in his claims by the Catholic Church, but was a well-known anti-vaxxer who had “often allied with [other] religious leaders to oppose mass vaccination campaigns.”
Instead of the COVID-19 vaccine, Dr Karanja promoted unproven treatments including steam inhalation, hydroxychloroquine and Ivermectin (a horse-worming treatment).
Dr Karanja died of COVID-19 in April 2021.
L – Les Lawrenson, British Solicitor
Les Lawrenson, 58, was a British solicitor. A graduate of Cambridge University, he was a health 58 year old before contracting COVID-19.
Lawrenson refused to be vaccinated. He believed, being a healthy, relatively young man, he didn’t need it. He hoped that he’d get the virus and pick up antibodies ‘naturally.’
He said in a vlog:
“The idea that we have to afraid of this bogeyman – this COVID-19 – [that] this somehow is a monster. We’ve got to get over this.”
When he did get sick, he didn’t seek medical help. The monster won. Lawrenson is dead.
M – Gary Matthews, British Artist
British portrait artist, Gary Matthews, liked to share anti-lockdown messages on Twitter. Relatives begged him to wear a mask and follow social-distancing advice, but he refused. After spending a week in hospital. Matthews died of COVID-19 at his home in Shropshire on 13 January 2021.
His family remember him as shy, gentle, kind, and talented. They loved him very much. Now, he’s dead, the victim of what London mayor, Sadiq Khan, describes as “pernicious propaganda”.
P – David Parker, British Nightclub Manager
David Parker, a British nightclub manager, enjoyed mocking people for taking the ‘experimental vaccine’ and for being taken in by a ‘big pharma’ conspiracy.
Proudly unvaccinated, Parker died of COVID-19 in August 2021.
R – Lydia and Lawrence Rodriguez, American Parents, 40s
Lydia Rodriguez, a 42-year-old mother of four, didn’t believe in the COVID-19 vaccine.
At the beginning of August 2021, Rodriguez and her husband Lawrence were both breathing with the help of machines after being admitted to hospital with COVID-19. The virus has, reportedly, ravaged their bodies. They have been hospitalised for weeks.
If they manage to survive – which is not at all certain – they will face long recoveries and possibly long-term health problems. Their household and medical bills have become overwhelming.
One of the last things Lydia said before being intubated was to make sure her kids got vaccinated.
S – Landon Spradlin, American Evangelical Musician
Landon Spradlin was a conservative Christian musician from Virginia. His mission in life was to save souls. He looked after himself. He didn’t drink or take drugs, and did his best to care for those who did. He loved people and believed that God could heal anything.
“There are documented cases of God healing AIDS,” said Spradlin. “God can cause limbs to grow out where they’ve been chopped off. God can raise the dead.”
Spradlin rejected the idea that COVID-19 was dangerous. He thought the media was creating mass hysteria in order to manipulate people’s lives. He didn’t believe he needed to be vaccinated, wear a mask or practice social distancing. He was a soldier of God, and God would protect him.
Returning from an evangelical mission to the New Orleans Mardi Gras in 2019, Spradlin was racked by coughing fits. His wife was also ill. Spradlin collapsed at a service station and was rushed to hospital. There, he was intubated and diagnosed with COVID-19. Later, as his kidneys shut down, he was given dialysis. A network of believers prayed fervently for his recovery.
God didn’t save Landon Spradlin. He died at 4am in the morning.
While Spradlin’s network was in disbelief at his death, one friend seemed to understand that even God has limitations, “By making these claims [that God will protect you], you overpromise in God’s name.”
T – Texas Patient, 30s
A man from San Antonio, Texas was so unconcerned about COVID-19, he attended a COVID party – ‘designed’ to test the theory that concerns about the virus were unfounded.
He contracted the virus. Now he is dead.
Just before he died he said to his nurse: “I think I made a mistake. I thought this was a hoax, but it’s not.”
U – Mark Anthony Urquiza
Mark Anthony Urquiza, a first-generation Mexican-American, was a healthy 65-year old when he died from COVID-19 at the Democratic National Convention in August 2020. Urquiza was a disenchanted former Trump supporter.
Urqiza’s daughter, Kristin said, “His only preexisting condition was trusting Donald Trump, and for that, he paid with his life.”
Kristin Urquiza said:
“His death is due to the carelessness of the politicians who continue to jeopardize the health of brown bodies through a clear lack of leadership, refusal to acknowledge the severity of this crisis, and inability and unwillingness to give clear and decisive direction on how to minimize risk.”
V – Phil Valentine, American Radio Host
Nashville radio host, Phil Valentine, was a vaccine sceptic. He has been described as “a visionary of the conservative movement.” Valentine thought that even if he got the virus, he wouldn’t die from it.
He was wrong. He did.
W – Caleb Wallace, American “Freedom Defender”, 30
Texan, Caleb Wallace, was passionate in defence of his ‘constitutional rights.’ The 30 year old led “freedom rallies” to protest against face masks and vaccines. He believed his personal freedom mattered more than other peoples’ health.
When Wallace fell ill, he did not seek medical treatment. Instead, he self-medicated with aspirin, vitamin C and horse-wormer.
Wallace died of COVID-19, leaving behind a wife and three very young children.
Z – Linda Zuern, American Trump Supporter and New England Politician
Trump supporter, Linda Zuern was a proud member of the pro-Trump group, the United Cape Patriots. She believed COVID-19 was a plot to create a one world government and used her Facebook page to spread conspiracy theories about the pandemic. Like many who shared her political views, Zuern was not vaccinated.
Zueren died in July 2021 from complications resulting from COVID-19. Her mother also fell ill with the virus, but survived.
Zueren was praised by one of her compatriots for doing “so much work on the conservative movement”.
Get the Damn Vaccine
Michael Freedy, a Las Vegas father of five, died of COVID-19 in August 2021. In one of his final texts he wrote: “I should have gotten the damn vaccine.”
Please – don’t end up as a cautionary tale on an A-Z list of people who gambled with their lives and lost.
Please. Please. Please.
Get the damn vaccine.