An Alabama family is in mourning after an unvaccinated mother died of COVID-19 after she lost her unborn child to the same disease.
Nurse Haley Mulkey Richardson, 32, was registered at the labor and delivery unit at Ascension Sacred Heart Hospital in Pensacola, according to Alabama.com.
Richardson, who lived in Theodore with her husband Jordan and young daughter Katie, contracted COVID-19 some three weeks before she died, in late July or early August, a friend—Jason Whatley—told the outlet.
The mother-of-one was not vaccinated against the virus as she was afraid of suffering potentially life-threatening anaphylactic reactions and after she heard unfounded claims the jab could affect fertility.
Richardson's mother, Julie Mulkey, told Alabama.com: "Haley had anaphylaxis reactions in the past. So for that reason, she felt that it was not safe for her.
"And then, of course, with all the negative reporting that has gone on, what was she to believe about what the vaccine would do to reproduction?
"Stuff about that it would destroy a female's eggs and that kind of thing, and she wanted to have her second baby. That made her afraid to get it."
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends people who are pregnant, or might become pregnant in the future, get vaccinated against COVID-19 and added there "is currently no evidence" the jab causes fertility problems in women or men.
Richardson lost the unborn child, named Ryleigh Beth, on August 18 when she was about six months pregnant and died on August 20.
"It's really hard. It's hard to accept, it's hard to face. We're glad she's not suffering anymore," said Mulkey.
Whatley added: "After about three or four days in the hospital, the [obstetrician] told her that she was going to lose the baby. And she continued to get worse and worse."
He continued: "At some point, they basically told her that we've got to start treating you as if you didn't have a child. We've got to do what we can for you because the baby is going to pass anyway."
Richardson was then transferred to USA Health Children's and Women's Hospital in Mobile, where she could not have any visitors.
Mulkey told the outlet: "Haley did call me crying, that she was going to lose the baby. And that she was down there by herself when that happened."
Richardson shared a final post on Facebook on August 9 where she said: "Here in the dark, in the wee hours of the morning, it is so easy to pretend that all of this was just a nightmare or that I'm just here in this hospital bed due to my own issues with COVID.
"Not for anything being wrong with my sweet baby girl whom I thought I was protecting in my own womb. I know the prognosis and I know the reality. And while part of me may start to acknowledge this, the other part of me still believes God is still the God of miracles and is in control above all else.
She concluded: "I hope and pray for miracles, but having said that I am also praying for his will to be done. If there has ever been a time to ask for something to be taken out of my own hands and put in his, it is now."
Mulkey told Alabama.com she, Haley Richardson's husband Jordan, Katie and Jordan's mother Donna were able to say goodbye to her.
Following Richardson's death, Jordan said in a public Facebook post: "Words cannot describe the devastation that I feel so I will not try to explain it. I know you are now watching over Katie and I and will continue to help guide us on our path.
"I love you so much and will always love you. So this is just goodbye to your earthly life but I know one day I will be able to say hello to your heavenly one, and that day shall be the happiest of all of my life. So until then just know I love you with everything that I am."
Whatley praised Richardson in a GoFundMe fundraiser for Jordan and Katie, where he described her as "easy to love."
He added: "Her spirit lit every room she ever walked into, her laugh brought a celebration to any moment, and her heart—her heart was as pure, and as kind, and as loving, and as selfless as anyone you have ever known or ever will meet again."
It has raised $19,050 out of a total of $20,000 as of Tuesday morning.
Since the start of the pandemic, Alabama has lost 12,000 people to COVID-19, according to data collected by the New York Times.
Newsweek has contacted Jordan Richardson and Whatley for comment.