Monett man, 26, regrets not getting vaccinated after recent COVID-19 diagnosis

Published: Jul. 25, 2021 at 9:13 PM CDT|Updated: Jul. 25, 2021 at 11:33 PM CDT
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MONETT, Mo. (KY3) - COVID-19 cases continue to climb to record numbers around southwest Missouri, and some hospitals are starting to see younger people seeking emergency care due to the virus.

Kole Eden, a 26-year-old Monett resident, is married and has two sons between the ages of 2 and 4 years old. Being young and in good health, Eden didn’t feel the need to get vaccinated against COVID-19 several months ago.

But recently, he contracted the virus and needed emergency care.

”Started having breathing issues, feeling like I couldn’t breathe. And there was a day, when I felt like I was having a heart attack. My pulse was jumping up and all over the place, and my oxygen levels were kind of going crazy,” said Eden

Eden went to the emergency room where he started thinking about the severity of the illness.

”I have two children. I have a wife. And you know, if I hadn’t made it, they’d be left without me and I can’t do that to them. It’s not right.”

As the Delta variant spreads across southwest Missouri, more and more people in their 20′s and 30′s are ending up in the ICU. On Friday, Mercy Hospital in Springfield had 155 COVID-19 patients seeking care. Thirty-six of them were under 40 years old and unvaccinated.

”I just remember sitting in the hospital, and just thinking to myself, ‘you could have avoided this, you could have made the smart decision to get a vaccine,’”said Eden. “There are side effects to the vaccine, but the side effects aren’t worse than this. I can promise that.”

Health officials say that vaccines are the key to avoiding hospitalizations.

”I just don’t want anyone to feel the way that I felt. Things were it this can be avoided. You know we can save lives by doing the right thing.”

It’s unknown how many younger patients are affected in Barry and Lawrence counties based on their COVID-19 data. But we took a look at some of the number from the Springfield Greene County Health Department:

  • As of July 1, the highest number of positive COVID-19 cases came from people between 20-26.
  • The average age of people infected is 38.
  • Among the 41% of people fully vaccinated in Greene County, only about 10% of that total is for people between the ages of 21-30.

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