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A Virginia couple in their 40s who refused pleas from their family to get the COVID-19 vaccine because they read misinformation online passed away from the disease within two weeks of each other, leaving behind five children and an infant grandson.

High school sweethearts Kevin, 48, and Misty Mitchem, 46, regretted not taking the vaccine just before they died, according to their bereaved loved ones.

Misty Mitchem, a medical transcriptionist by trade, declined to get the shot even though she had diabetes.

‘He called me up from the hospital and said, “Mom, I love you and I wish that I’d got the shot”,’ Kevin’s mother, Terry Mitchem, told NBC Washington.

‘Of course I told him, “It’s past. You can’t do anything about it”.’

The couple is survived by their four young children: Riley, 17; Leah, 14; and twins Taylor and Aiden, 11.

After their parents’ deaths, the four younger children went to live with an aunt and uncle in South Carolina, according to Kevin’s brother, Mike Mitchem of Spotsylvania County, Virginia.

‘Both our families have been turned upside down,’ Mike Mitchem told the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

‘The kids are the main thing. His oldest daughter just had a son, and I’m sure she wanted him to get close with his grandfather, and that’s not gonna happen now.’

According to Mike Mitchem, Kevin Mitchem developed a cough last month and went to an urgent care facility in Stafford County.

He was then sent home with cold medicine.

Kevin Mitchem then returned to the urgent care facility a few days later after he wasn’t feeling any better, his brother said.

He then tested positive for COVID-19.

Days later, Misty Mitchem, who was diabetic, started feeling ill.

She was then sent to Mary Washington Hospital in Fredericksburg, Virginia, where she was treated for COVID-19.

‘Kevin called me on a Monday and said, “Misty’s in the hospital”,’ Kevin’s father, Don Mitchem, said.

‘They say she’s got COVID. They automatically put her on a ventilator she was so bad.’

Misty Mitchem’s health deteriorated quite rapidly.

Within days of her hospitalization, she was unable to breathe on her own and was put on a ventilator.

Doctors also said that her kidneys were only functioning at 50 percent.

The next day, Kevin Mitchem was admitted to the same hospital.

By the time he was taken in for treatment, the family was told that Misty Mitchem might have fewer than 24 hours to live.

Don Mitchem recalled the moment he learned his son was to be hospitalized.

‘He said, “Dad, I’m going to the hospital”,’ Don Mitchem said.

‘I said, “Why, Kevin?”’

‘He said, “I feel bad”.’

The next day, Misty Mitchem died.

‘Within five hours, she was gone, Mike Mitchem told the Times-Dispatch.

Misty Mitchem died on September 23 – just days after the onset of her symptoms.

‘It really came out of nowhere.’

‘Misty was a very devoted mother to her four children (Riley, Leah, Aidan and Taylor) and step-daughter Angel,’ according to her obituary.

‘Misty was one of the most caring and loving people…’

Don Mitchem rushed to the hospital to try to speak to his son before he was put on a ventilator.

‘He said, “Dad, I’m scared to death”,’ Don Mitchem recalled.

‘I told him to call his mom.’

Kevin Mitchem then called his mother.

‘He called me up and said, “Mom, I love you and I wish that I’d got the shot”,’ Terry Mitchem said.

‘Of course I told him, “It’s past. You can’t do anything about it”.’

Kevin Mitchem died on October 8.

At one point during his treatment, he appeared to be improving, but the coronavirus inflicted too much damage on his lungs.

His brother said that he was a healthy person before COVID.

‘He never smoked, never drank, didn’t do drugs, didn’t have diabetes, wasn’t overweight, was a heavy equipment operator, did a lot of highway work,’ Mike Mitchem said.

‘He worked every day. He was always working, always outside, always doing something. Very active.’

‘My brother was healthy. He was still pretty much young and he had everything to live for,’ Mike Mitchem added.

‘He had five kids and a grandson, and now all of them have lost him.

‘It’s hard on my parents. They’re 73, and my mom said your kids are not supposed to die before you.’

Mike Mitchem said that his brother and his sister-in-law refused to get vaccinated even though the family was urging them to do so.

‘They’d just been leery. They were going off what they’ve been hearing and reading on the internet,’ he said.

Don and Terry Mitchem, who have each had their booster shots, said they tried in vain to convince Kevin to get vaccinated.

‘We’d just say, “Hey, Kevin let’s get the shot, buddy. It’s not going to hurt you”,’ Don Mitchem recalled.

‘“Oh, I know. I’m alright. I’m not going to get the shot. I don’t need it”,’ Kevin Mitchem would tell his father.

Mike Mitchem said he was angry about vaccine misinformation that likely cost the lives of his brother and his wife.

‘Part of our pain is anger,’ he said.

‘Anger because people are still not getting the vaccine. If you think about it, you need to have certain vaccines before you can even go to school.

‘What’s the big deal about this one?’


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