Just weeks after losing her husband to COVID-19, Texas mom Lydia Rodriguez died after a month-long battle with the virus. Though she and her husband refused to get vaccinated, Rodriguez changed her mind about the vaccine and even urged her relatives to make sure her four children got vaccinated as well.
Rodgriguez's cousin, Dottie Jones, tells ABC13 that by the time she changed her mind about the vaccine—she was about to be intubated in the ICU, and it was too late.
"Before she got intubated, one of the last things she told her sister was 'Please make sure my children get vaccinated,'" Jones said. "She would be there for her kids right now if she had been vaccinated."
According to The Washington Post, the entire Rodriguez family tested positive for COVID-19 upon returning from a week-long church camp. Three of the four children were asymptomatic, and the youngest child only had mild symptoms. Both Lydia and her husband Lawrence had to be put on ventilators in an ICU just a few beds away from one another. Lawrence died two weeks before his wife.
Sad update to this story we’ve been following. Lydia & Lawrence Rodriguez of LaMarque passed away 2 weeks apart fro… https://t.co/gvDmAU8c16— Courtney Carpenter (@courtcarpenter_) 1629254496.0
Tens of millions of Americans haven't yet received even one dose of the COVID vaccine. The vaccine is currently free and available to anyone over the age of 12. Health officials and public health experts have repeatedly urged people to get vaccinated, as it significantly lowers the risk of hospitalization and severe illness.
Family and friends have organized a GoFundMe for the Rodriguez children. Two of them have graduated high school and two of them are still school-aged, but they need money to be able to afford to stay in their home. The most recent updated in the family's fundraiser, posted by Jones, is heartbreaking:
"I'm having to post something I had hoped I never would," she wrote. "Lydia passed away early this morning. Please continue to pray. Our hearts are broken."
In her interview with ABC13, Jones shares her grief and exasperation over pandemic-related misinformation—the same misinformation that caused her beloved cousin and mother of four to lose her life.
"It just breaks my heart that people are believing the misinformation that's out there. The misinformation is killing people, and we need to get the truth out there," said Jones. "This is really happening in our family, and it is the true story of what can happen. I am not trying to scare people. I just want people to understand this virus is real, and this delta variant is more brutal that anything we've seen."
You can donate to the Rodriguez children here.