July 31, 2021

We keep hearing these types of stories coming out of the Ozarks, people not only vaccine-hesitant but openly hostile to getting them. This attitude is exacting a heavy price there, another COVID hotspot that is well under the national average for vaccination.

Source: Associated Press

OSAGE BEACH, Mo. (AP) — Daryl Barker was passionately against a COVID-19 vaccination, and so were his relatives. Then 10 of them got sick and Barker, at just 31, ended up in a Missouri intensive care unit fighting for his life.

It’s a scenario playing out time and again at Lake Regional Hospital in Osage Beach, where 22 people died from the virus in the first 23 days of July. Many other hospitals across Missouri are fighting the same battle, the result of the fast-spreading delta variant invading a state with one of the nation’s lowest vaccination rates, especially in rural areas.
“I was strongly against getting the vaccine,” Barker said through labored breathing. “Just because we’re a strong conservative family.”

Barker was admitted to the hospital, gravely ill, given just a 20% chance of survival by his doctors. “The doctor told me he was going to let my wife and kid in so I could say my goodbyes because he didn’t think I was going to pull through,” Barker said. Somehow, he survived. The family visits him by looking through the window glass at the ICU, which is as close as they're allowed now.

And what does Daryl Barker think after he's come this close to death? He plans on getting the vaccine, of course. As his wife told the Associated Press, “I don’t ever want to have to do this again,” she said, “and if that means getting a vaccination to prevent something like this, that’s what I’ll do.”


A smartass response, but what else can you do when you hear these sorts of stories but throw up your hands?

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