Father of Baby Hospitalized with COVID Makes Vaccine Plea: 'Don't Let This Happen to Your Kids'

"Get your vaccine ... so that another father doesn't have to stand at the back of an ambulance and wonder if that's the last time you're going to see your son," said Kyle Butrum

An Arkansas father is making an emotional plea about getting vaccinated after his 1-year-old son contracted COVID-19.

Kyle Butrum said his son, Carter Butrum, is currently on oxygen, fighting for his life in Cox Medical Center South in Springfield, Missouri, according to NBC affiliate KYTV.

The infant tested positive for COVID-19 on Monday after he started experiencing cold symptoms at daycare late last week, the outlet reported.

"He's just exhausted, and is doing everything he can," Kyle explained to KYTV. "He's only one year old. There's only so much a 1-year-old can do when [he's] fully exhausted."

It's been a whirlwind year for the Butrums, who spent the first few months of Carter's life in the hospital after he was born three months premature, according to the outlet.

"There's no smaller feeling than watching someone who can't speak for themselves go through that and not be able to help," Kyle recalled of the heartbreaking situation.

"Spent five months wondering if he was ever going to come home," he continued. "And I thought we were done with the major hospital things. Now here I am a year later, wondering if he is ever going to make it home again."

Once Carter started showing cold symptoms last week, Kyle told KYTV he had his son tested for RSV and COVID — both of which came back negative.

But when Carter's condition worsened, the infant was rushed to urgent care, where he was diagnosed with the virus, according to the outlet.

"It just seemed like he couldn't catch his breath," Kyle recalled of his son's condition. "I mean, he was breathing but the coughing was tense."

Carter was later brought to Cox Medical Center Branson before being admitted to Cox South, where he has remained on oxygen — with only his mother allowed by his side, the outlet reported.

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"That's the worst — the second being helpless to the situation," Kyle told KYTV. "You're now completely helpless, because you can't even communicate with people that are trying to help."

"It's one thing to have a child with an illness and to be there and help, but... I can't even go in," he added during an interview with CNN. "I don't blame the hospital for that, they're just trying to protect their employees... but it's terrible."

Kyle said people have offered to help his family during this trying time — but he told CNN there's only one thing that he feels can truly help in this situation.

"There's nothing you can do to help the family members," he explained to the outlet. "The only thing you can do to prevent someone else from doing this is to get your vaccine so that another child doesn't have to do this, and another family doesn't have to send their kid away, so another father doesn't have to stand at the back of an ambulance and wonder if that's the last time you're going to see your son, because you can't go with them."

"This can happen to your kids," he added to KYTV. "It can happen to your mom. It can happen to your aunts, uncles, cousins. There is no line in the sand. It happened to my 1-year-old. And regardless of whatever you think you're part of the fabric of the community."

For the people who choose not to get vaccinated, Kyle told KYTV that he believes they are "actively putting someone else in danger."

"That's not fair to the ones who can't make that decision," he explained to the outlet. "So please, please don't let this happen to your kids. It's not worth it."

"That's how you can help me. I hate to be so blunt about it, but there's nothing you can do to help me," he added to CNN. "The only thing you can do to help me is help the next person."

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends everyone 12 years and older should get a COVID-19 vaccination, and advises children 2 years and older to wear a mask in all indoor public settings.

COVID-19 infections that occur in people who have been fully vaccinated against the virus — are rare, but possible and expected, as the vaccines are not 100% effective in preventing infections. Still, vaccinated people who test positive will likely be asymptomatic or experience a far milder illness than if they were not vaccinated. The majority of deaths from COVID-19 — around 98 to 99% — are in unvaccinated people.

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