Michigan father of 5 dies after refusing vaccine

Antwone Rivers and his wife wore their masks and practiced social distancing, but neither felt comfortable getting the vaccine

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A Michigan family is mourning the loss of their beloved patriarch who passed from COVID-19 after refusing the vaccine.

Antwone Rivers, 39, and his wife, Hollie, took COVID-19 preventative methods seriously by wearing masks and social distancing from others, but neither felt comfortable getting the vaccine. It is now a decision she regrets.

“It was funny because two weeks prior to this happening, we were talking about it more, saying maybe we should get vaccinated, and now it’s like, a big loss for everybody,” Hollie shared with FOX 2 News.

Photo: Fox 2 News / Screenshot

Rivers had a tough upbringing growing up in foster care and eventually facing years of abuse and neglect. Despite those hardships, he became very successful in his career and was a manager at Precision Vehicle Logistics in Wayne, MI.

“He went to work every day even on the weekends, on vacations he worked,” his wife recalls.

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It came as a shock to everyone when he called in sick back in April, only to find out that he and his wife tested positive for the virus. Although Rivers had no underlying conditions, his health started to decrease rapidly.

“I know that it was like a week into us having Covid he started feeling worse and I started feeling better,” Hollie said.

Hollie went on to say that every organ in her husband’s body began to shut down. Doctors eventually put Antwone on a ventilator, but even those efforts weren’t enough. On May 13, Antwone lost his month-long battle with COVID-19.

The young mother who never imagined raising a family alone is now encouraging everyone to get vaccinated, as it can be life-changing. As far as losing the love of her life, it hasn’t registered yet. “Most of all it feels like a dream and it hasn’t hit me yet,” she said.

Photo: Fox 2 News / Screenshot

Antwone’s co-workers from Precision created a GoFundMe to support Hollie and their five children. The fundraising page describes Antwone as someone “true to his name and like a river, never let the chaos of life deter him.” It went on to mention that “between working, being a superhero dad and loving husband, Antwone gave back to his community by mentoring youth with Feed the Streets.”

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As of March 30, the U.S. had delivered about 189.5 million doses and administered 147.6 million. As theGrio previously reported, more Black Americans are opening up to the idea of receiving the vaccine.

Campaigns aimed at Black communities across the U.S. are making headway in the effort to persuade people that the COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective. With millions of dollars in assistance from President Joe Biden’s administration, local groups have urged Black Americans to roll up their sleeves for shots.

A poll by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research in late March found that about 24% of Black American adults said they will probably or definitely not get vaccinated. That’s down from 41% in January. The latest poll shows that the number of Black Americans leaning towards not getting shots is almost the same as white Americans at 26% and Hispanic Americans at 22%.

Dr. Georges Benjamin, executive director of the American Public Health Association, said attitudes toward the vaccine among Black Americans have taken “almost a 180-degree turnaround” as outreach campaigns have worked to combat misinformation.

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