Macon woman who lost daughter to COVID-19 urges vaccination

Nayneshia was 32 years old and 6 months pregnant when she died. Her baby survived.

MACON, Ga. — Summer is just around the corner, and even though many places and events are back open, COVID-19 is still spreading.

Valerie Johnson’s life changed when her daughter Nayneshia Jne Johnson called her in September of 2021.

“She called me and she said, ‘Mama, I am coming to Macon to the hospital, because something isn’t right. I don’t feel good.’ When she got to the Medical Center, she found out she had COVID, and she never made it home,” Valerie said.

Nurses and doctors cared for Nayneshia for three weeks. It was the first time she had COVID-19. Nayneshia was 32 years old and 6 months pregnant when she died.

“They ended up having to deliver the baby,” Valerie said.

According to Atrium Health Navicent Chief Clinical Officer Dr. Sandy Duke, COVID-19 hospitalizations are down, but the virus is not gone.

“The time is now to get your vaccine to protect yourself and family from COVID and the spread of COVID and to eliminate the risks of serious outcomes,” Dr. Duke said.

He says the Georgia is seeing about four times as many cases as a month ago, from 300 cases a day in April to 1,200.

“We have a lot more home tests, antigen tests. You can get free antigen tests from the government, and so these numbers probably dramatically underestimate the cases of COVID-19 we are seeing in the community,” Duke said.

Duke is asking you to get vaccinated, especially ahead of any summer travel.

“This is now a pandemic of the unvaccinated. What we are seeing largely in those admitted to the hospital who are having complications of COVID, it’s the unvaccinated,” Doctor Duke said.

Valerie says she repeatedly asked Nayneshia to get vaccinated, but she never did.

“She was very caring about everybody, but she was very firm. She stood very firm on what she believed in. She said, ‘Mama, I don’t want the vaccine.’ I said, ‘Nesha, you got to realize you’re not breathing just for yourself,'” Valerie said.

Valerie is now raising two grandchildren, hoping to change one person’s mind about the vaccine.

“I’ll tell anybody. Please get the vaccine. Because I lost my child, and it’s hard to lose a child,” Valerie said.

Nayneshia’s says her daughter give birth to a healthy son, who’s now 8 months old. His name is Legend. She leaves behind five children in all.

Valerie also said, she hopes to one day start an organization “to recognize the young child who were left behind, who have lost their mom or dad to COVID, especially pregnant parents.”

Last week, the FDA and the CDC expanded their recommendation and eligibility on COVID-19 booster shots for children ages 5 to 11.

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