CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — A Clarksville man who refrained from getting a COVID-19 vaccine says information on social media almost killed him.
"I didn't ask questions about COVID before I got sick," said Randy Gieger. "I didn't educate myself. I listened to social media."
Randy Gieger was admitted to Vanderbilt University Medical Center at the beginning of June with COVID-19. He was there for seven weeks. Four were spent hooked up to a ventilator.
"They put video tablets in front of me everyday and I could hear my family talking to me and those are the things that got me through it," Randy Gieger said.
When Gieger became eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine, he and his wife chose not to get vaccinated. They didn't think COVID-19 would find them. Social media convinced them of it.
"We stayed to ourselves. We wore our masks like we were supposed to and [thinking] just that's not going to affect me. I'm camping, playing with my children and going about my business, this isn't going to affect me, but when it hits you it affects you. It is a life changing process," Randy Gieger said.
Gieger is currently unable to work and faces a long recovery.
"By not educating myself on it [my family] went through a ton of heartfelt heartache and financial struggles because of my decisions," Randy Gieger said.
His wife Michelle is home-bound with him.
"He still needs help daily with everyday things we take for granted, like eating," said Michelle Gieger. "He's just getting to the point where he can feed himself, get up and get in the shower by himself, but he needs help getting out and getting dried off."
The couple and their children are now fully vaccinated.
"Randy has always been strong and healthy and active. I knew if it got him that I could be sick too," Michelle Gieger said.
The Giegers are begging their fellow rural and conservative neighbors to reevaluate where they're getting information about COVID-19.
"Do not listen to Facebook. Do not listen to some of the media outlets and different things because there are so many different things said. Go to your doctor. Listen to what your doctor says. If your doctor tells you to take it there is a reason for taking it," Randy Geiger said.
Last week, COVID cases rose again in Tennessee. The Department of Health reports the state is seeing the highest level of hospitalizations since February.