Unvaccinated Father Inspired Other Family Members to Get Shot Before Dying From COVID

An unvaccinated man in Chicago who died from COVID-19 urged others to get the vaccine before he passed away, helping convince several of his own relatives to do so.

Harold Blackwell, who died of pneumonia caused by his COVID-19 infection, posted on social media while he was ill.

"It's real. Breaking out of cold sweats and chills, can't sleep at night," Blackwell said in a video he posted online, according to ABC 7 Chicago. "It's like the walls coming in on you."

Blackwell, who was 48 and a father of two, urged people not to treat COVID-19 like "a joke" and to wear a mask and get vaccinated.

Blackwell's family said that after he got sick, he regretted not getting the vaccine.

"When they told him he had COVID pneumonia, he said 'I should have got that shot,'" Blackwell's sister, Melinda Dakers told the television station.

"And I said, 'we're not going to talk about that now.'"

Blackwell's niece, Jasmine Dakers told ABC 7 that she and at least 19 other relatives of his got the vaccine after they saw the video.

"We all knew he was against it and we were against it with him," she said. "To see him going through that, that's what made his nieces and nephews say, 'okay we're going to get it.'"

Unvaccinated Father Urged Others to Get Vaccine
An unvaccinated man in Chicago who died from COVID-19 urged others get the vaccine before he passed away, helping convince several of his relatives to do so. Above, Marcus Young, who works with the hospitals environmental services team, cleans a room for Joanne Childs Ferguson who is recovering from COVID-19 at Roseland Community Hospital on December 17, 2020 in Chicago, Illinois. Scott Olson

In Illinois, just over 55 percent of residents, or about 7 million people, have been fully vaccinated, according to state data.

A report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in September found that unvaccinated people were 10 times be hospitalized if they contract COVID.

It also found that the unvaccinated are more than 11 times more likely to die from the disease and were five times more likely to face infection.

"The bottom line is this: We have the scientific tools we need to turn the corner on this pandemic," CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said in September.

"Vaccination works and will protect us from the severe complications of COVID-19," she added.

As of September 30, 56.1 percent of the U.S. population has been fully vaccinated, while 64.7 percent of Americans have received at least one dose of the vaccine, according to data from the Mayo Clinic.

This week, the CDC urged pregnant people to get vaccinated. Walensky said that the rates of vaccination among pregnant people remain "extraordinarily low," with only 32 percent of pregnant people fully vaccinated against the virus.

Newsweek has reached out to Blackwell's sister for additional comment.