A Missouri nursing instructor who decided not to get vaccinated against COVID-19 is now urging people to get the shot after both she and her husband were hospitalized and placed on ventilators due to infection.
Christy Henry, 56, told CNN in an interview published Friday that she and her family thought they did not need to get vaccinated, as they rarely saw large groups of people and hardly went to public areas where they could be exposed to the virus.
However, the southern Missouri resident said she began to feel sick about three weeks ago, and was eventually put on a ventilator for at least two days.
Her husband, Lonnie, remains in a ventilator, she told CNN.
"Never in a million years do you think it's going to happen to you," said Henry, who added that one of her six children also tested positive but did not need to go to the hospital.
“The doctor told me twice yesterday that I should not be alive,” she explained in an interview from her hospital bed.
"COVID-19 is extremely, extremely serious," she added. “Everybody I know and I love: You need to get vaccinated.”
Henry is one of more than 1,600 Missouri residents currently in the hospital due to COVID-19, according to the state’s Department of Health and Senior Services, as the Midwestern state battles a surge in infections driven in large part by the highly transmissible delta variant.
As of Tuesday, the state recorded 10,685 new coronavirus infections in the previous week alone, with 32 additional fatalities, according to state health data.
The surge comes after Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Rochelle WalenskyRochelle WalenskyFDA panel endorses COVID-19 booster shots for older Americans, rejects widespread use Watch live: White House COVID-19 response team holds briefing The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by National Industries for the Blind - Tight security for Capitol rally; Biden agenda slows MORE warned last week that the country is now facing a “pandemic of the unvaccinated," noting that 97 percent of people entering the hospital with COVID-19 have not gotten a coronavirus vaccination.
As of Thursday, only 47 percent of Missouri’s population has received at least one COVID-19 dose, with nearly 41 percent fully vaccinated, according to CDC data.
Missouri Gov. Mike Parson (R) announced Wednesday that the state would be offering its first incentives to push residents to get vaccinated after the state averaged more than 2,100 new COVID-19 infections per day in the past week.
Now, Missouri residents who have already been vaccinated or who get vaccinated in the near future will be eligible to win one of 9 prizes worth $10,000, either in cash or in an education savings account, Parson said Wednesday.