Samantha Wendell: Anti-vaxxer bride-to-be dies of Covid days before her wedding
A 29-year-old surgical technician who was all set to tie the knot this summer died after refusing to take Covid-19 vaccination over fears that the jab would make her infertile.
Samantha Wendell, 29, of Grand Rivers, Kentucky, was set to walk down the aisle in late August 2021 with her fiancé Austin Eskew, a correctional sergeant. The couple had both refused to get the jab after Wendell's co-workers told her, who wanted to have three to four children, that the vaccine causes infertility. The CDC has confirmed the vaccination is safe for "people who are trying to get pregnant now or might become pregnant in the future, as well as their partners."
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Even though there are no claims by CDC that could prove that Covid-19 vaccination can make people infertile, Wendell was hesitant. While she waited to make up her mind, she caught Covid-19 and spent her wedding day, August 21 on a ventilator and died a short time later. "Misinformation killed her," Wendell's cousin Maria Vibandor Hayes told NBC News. Hayes further added that the family is narrating this story to everyone so that it won't happen to someone else. "If we can save more lives and families' lives, then this is the gift that she left for us to deliver."
It is reported that, even though she was hesitant to get the vaccine, she decided to get the shot after the delta variant surged. The couple even set an appointment to be vaccinated for the end of July ahead of her honeymoon in Mexico, but it would be too late. Before the trip, she held her bachelorette party in Nashville and when she returned home, just a week before she and her fiancé were set to get vaccinated, she caught the virus.
"She could not stop coughing," Eskew said and when she began gasping for air, she was taken to the hospital. The couple tested positive for the virus, but Wendell suffered the more serious symptoms and in a bid to stabilize her, doctors put her on a ventilator on August 16, just five days before she was set to be married.
Wendell's mother told NBC News before being put on the ventilator the 29-year-old asked if she could receive the vaccine. "It wasn't going to do any good at that point, obviously,' Jeaneen Wendell said. 'It just weighs heavy on my heart that this could have easily been avoided." Despite hopes, the wedding would only be delayed, not canceled, on September 10 Wendell's family made the choice to take her off life support when doctors told them there was no chance for survival.
In a heartbreaking statement, Eskew said that he feels 'lost' without his future bride, who he had been with since college. "She had so much influence in everything that I do," he said. "We didn't really ever do anything without the other in mind."
Now instead of a wedding, her family is hosting a funeral set for September 18, 2021. Family and friends remember Wendell for her 'heart of gold' and her determined spirit. "Samantha loved her job as a surgical technician and she rescued and raised numerous pets. She loved Christmas and elaborate decorations for all the holidays, as well as surprises. Samantha loved her time at Lake Maxinkuckee and hanging out with her many friends," her obituary reads. A GoFundMe fundraiser was set to "defray the cost of the funeral for Samantha." The page has raised $1,650 of the $1,500 goal