Nerissa Regnier, Woman Repeatedly Denied Vaccine, Dies of COVID, Family Say

The family of a California mother are suing her health care provider, alleging that she died of COVID-19 after being repeatedly denied a vaccine and then monoclonal antibody treatment.

Nerissa Regnier, 45, of Mission Viejo, died on December 16, 2021, leaving behind her husband Devin Regnier and three children aged 14, 16 and 29.

The family's attorneys announced details of a wrongful death lawsuit against Kaiser Permanente at a news conference on Wednesday.

Attorney Annee Della Donna said Nerissa Regnier had multiple sclerosis, but had been placed on a new regimen of medication to manage the disease in February 2021 that suppressed her immune system.

Nerissa Regnier had asked doctors about getting vaccinated against COVID-19, but was told she couldn't because the vaccine contains a "live virus," according to Della Donna.

The attorney said Nerissa Regnier asked for a vaccine seven times over the next six months and was rebuffed each time.

"Nerissa Regnier was refused the COVID vaccine by Kaiser because they mistakenly thought it was a live vaccine and it was contraindicated with her MS treatment," Della Donna told Newsweek.

In August 2021, Della Donna said Regnier emailed her neurologist to ask about the vaccine and was told to get the shot.

"When Nerissa went into Kaiser to get her COVID-19 shot, she was turned away because she had already contracted the virus," Della Donna said.

"Once sick, Kaiser continued to commit medical negligence, by failing to give her the antibodies within the crucial 10 days, and instead, treating her with steroids and antibiotics, both which do not work against this deadly virus."

A vial of COVID vaccine
A nurse shows a container of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at Roseland Community Hospital in Chicago on December 17, 2020. Scott Olson/Getty Images

Eric Dubin, another attorney representing the family, said Nerissa Regnier's husband had her discharged from Kaiser's hospital in Irvine after she was denied monoclonal antibody treatment, City News reported.

He drove her to Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian, but was told it was too late by then for her to receive the treatment, according to Dubin. She returned to Kaiser's hospital, where she later died.

"Everyone should know that COVID-19 vaccines are not live vaccines," Della Donna told Newsweek. "We also spoke to the manufacturer of the medication she was on, and they stated there was absolutely no issue with getting the vaccine while taking their drug."

In a statement sent to Newsweek, Kaiser Permanente said: "We extend our deepest condolences to the family of Nerissa Regnier for the loss of their loved one. This global pandemic has tragically affected so many families.

"While we cannot comment on personal health information or the specific circumstances of this case, our physicians and health care professionals are dedicated to ensuring every individual treated at Kaiser Permanente receives the highest quality health care appropriate for their situation. Treatments for COVID-19 continue to rapidly evolve, and in consultation with each patient, we prescribe care that is intended to provide the best clinical outcomes based on current knowledge and their individual needs.

"Additionally, we have clearly communicated to our members, patients and the public, that none of the available COVID-19 vaccines contain the live virus and they are safe and effective.

"Kaiser Permanente has been consistent since vaccines first became available that we are committed to administering vaccines safely and equitably in accordance with all federal and state guidelines.

Update 01/27/22, 12:15 p.m. ET: This article was updated with additional comments from Annee Della Donna and a statement from Kaiser Permanente.