Unvaccinated Mom, 32, Dies of COVID Days After Giving Birth: 'She Wished She Had Gotten the Vaccine'
An unvaccinated mom who died of COVID-19 soon after giving birth to her second child spent her last days urging people not to make the same choice and to get vaccinated.
Paige Ruiz, a 32-year-old school administrator living near Dallas, was nine months pregnant when she tested positive for COVID-19. She and her husband, Daniel, also have an older daughter, Joanna, and when she got pregnant Ruiz decided to hold off on getting vaccinated.
"She thought that there wasn't enough information or data out there to say that she could confidently get vaccinated without harming the baby," Ruiz's mom, Robin Zinsou, told CNN. "And I would ask her, 'Have you talked to the doctor? I would like you to get vaccinated.' And she kept saying, 'No, I'm going to wait until after I have the baby.' She was worried it would harm the baby."
(The Centers for Disease Control and OB-GYN groups strongly advise people who are pregnant, breastfeeding or trying to conceive to get vaccinated against COVID-19, as studies have confirmed that the vaccines are safe and effective for those groups.)
Ruiz getting COVID-19 while pregnant "was my worst fear," Zinsou said.
The mom of two was hospitalized with severe symptoms after testing positive, and doctors performed an emergency C-section to save her newborn daughter, Celeste.
"As soon as Celeste was delivered they whisked her away, and when my daughter came-to they said that they had to keep each other separated because of the COVID," Zinsou explained. "Celeste was discharged from the hospital a couple days later, and we figured out a way to do video chat so that Paige could see the baby. And that's how we let Paige figure out a way to mother her daughter."
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But in the next few days, Ruiz's health deteriorated. Researchers have found that COVID-19 significantly increases the risk of pregnancy complications such as premature and stillborn births and miscarriages.
"It wasn't until after she had the baby that she started to get worse," Zinsou said.
Ruiz spend her last days before her death on Aug. 15 urging people to get vaccinated.
"She said that she wished she had gotten the vaccine, she texted that to me," Zinsou said. "I didn't find out until after she passed that she was texting that same message to her sister and to her friends. And she wanted people to get vaccinated.
Ruiz's two daughters are "healthy and they're doing well," Zinsou said. Ruiz's sister, Natasha, has set up a GoFundMe to help pay for funeral costs and establish a savings fund for Celeste and Joanna.
And Zinsou has a message for others.
"Mask up. Get vaccinated, so this doesn't happen to your family."
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