Mom Regrets Not Vaccinating Daughter, 13, in Fight for Her Life on Ventilator

An Arkansas mom, whose teenage daughter was left fighting for her life on a ventilator after contracting COVID-19, has said she now regrets deciding against vaccinations for both herself and her 13-year-old.

Angela Morris' daughter, Caia Morris Cooper, was left seriously ill and has spent nearly two weeks at Arkansas Children's Hospital where she is being helped to breathe by a mechanical ventilator.

Morris said she had opted not to have a coronavirus shot after being lulled into a "false sense of security that it was just like the flu and it wasn't that serious" by misinformation.

"I really thought that since she stayed home a lot and when I went out, I always wore my mask. I really thought that she was going to be protected," local media quoted Morris as saying.

"I just had a false sense of security that it was just like the flu and it wasn't that serious. Obviously it is that serious and it was that serious. Now, I can see."

Morris said she was now of the view that everyone should get a vaccine, saying: "I just want people to get their kids their shots. Everybody just needs to get the shot. It's a much better route than the one we're in."

There are currently seven patients at Arkansas Children's Hospital suffering with COVID-19 and three—including the 13-year-old—who require help to breathe with a ventilator.

Dr. Jessica Snowden, the hospital's chief of infectious diseases, said the emergence of the more transmissible Delta variant had triggered a rise in the number of children presenting with symptoms.

"This is looking more like what we saw this winter and less of what we had been seeing during the springtime," she told WKYC.

"We've had perfectly healthy children who end up in the hospital, in the ICU, with COVID-19 infection...it is definitely something that could impact anyone.

"All of the children we have admitted who are seriously sick with COVID-19 are either too young to get vaccinated, or haven't been vaccinated yet."

healthcare worker receives Pfizer-BioNtech vaccine
A healthcare worker receives a Pfizer-BioNtech vaccine. Arkansas has seen a rise in COVID patients in recent days. Joe Raedle/Getty Images

As of Wednesday, Arkansas had 647 COVID-19 patients in hospitals across the state—an increase of 41 in just a day.

Of those, 103 were on ventilators, up by five in 24 hours.

The Arkansas Department of Health (ADH) issued a Health Advisory at the beginning of July regarding the emergence of the Delta variant.

It said that genetic surveillance of COVID-19 cases by the ADH had detected at least one case of the Delta variant in 57 counties across all regions of the State.

"However, as there is considerable lag time in return of sequencing results, it is most probable that the Delta variant already spread to nearly all counties in Arkansas," the memo added.