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Woman’s family uses obituary to blame unvaccinated for her COVID-19 death

Published: Sep. 15, 2021 at 12:50 AM PDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (Gray News) - An Illinois family is sending a message to the unvaccinated through their loved one’s obituary. It says the 66-year-old woman was vaccinated for COVID-19 but still got infected and died because others refused the shots.

Candace “Candy” Ayers, 66, died from COVID-19 at an Illinois hospital Sept. 3, more than a month after she was diagnosed with the virus in late July despite being fully vaccinated, The State Journal-Register reports.

Her husband, Terry Ayers, and two adult children were heartbroken by her loss – but also angry. They used Candace Ayers’ obituary to call out those who haven’t been vaccinated for COVID-19.

Candace “Candy” Ayers, 66, died from COVID-19 at an Illinois hospital more than a month after...
Candace “Candy” Ayers, 66, died from COVID-19 at an Illinois hospital more than a month after she was diagnosed with the virus, despite being fully vaccinated.(Source: Ayers Family via CNN)

“She was preceded in death by more than 4,531,799 others infected with COVID-19. She was vaccinated but was infected by others who chose not to be. The cost was her life,” the obituary read.

Candace Ayers’ 36-year-old son, Marc Ayers, says he wants those who are unvaccinated to realize that their decision is taking a toll on others.

“This whole thing is so preventable,” he told the Journal-Register. “People have politicized this and made it about politics. These are the people who have perpetuated the cycle of pain for our family and so many others.”

Candace Ayers was fully vaccinated against COVID-19 in the spring. Her family believes she caught the virus on a four-day trip to Mississippi in mid-July to visit a friend who lost her husband to COVID-19, according to the Journal-Register.

Mississippi had one of the lowest COVID-19 vaccination rates in the nation over the summer, but Candace Ayers’ family and doctor thought she would be safe because she herself was vaccinated.

Both Candace Ayers and her husband caught the virus. He developed only mild symptoms and recovered, but she ended up hospitalized for a month, the last three weeks on a ventilator. Her family told the Journal-Register she had rheumatoid arthritis and believe it put her at a higher risk of complications from COVID-19.

Candace Ayers’ family made the hard decision to remove her from the ventilator due to the severe, irreversible lung damage from COVID-19. She died minutes after it was disconnected, with her family by her side.

Candace Ayers' husband, Terry Ayers, and her two children, Marc Ayers and Amanda Foster, used...
Candace Ayers' husband, Terry Ayers, and her two children, Marc Ayers and Amanda Foster, used her obituary to call out those who haven’t been vaccinated for COVID-19.(Source: Ayers Family via CNN)

Marc Ayers says he thinks his mother would like her obituary, the Journal-Register reports. He has received positive responses to it from vaccinated friends and hopes it changes some people’s minds about vaccinations.

“Just wear a mask and get a shot,” he said. “Just buckle up for a little bit.”

Candace Ayers is survived by her husband of nearly 43 years, her son, her daughter, Amanda Foster, and her triplet 5-year-old grandchildren.

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