Middle Tennessee cancer patient loses husband to COVID-19

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Posted at 8:32 PM, Aug 13, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-14 14:31:58-04

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (WTVF) — We know many Tennesseans are hesitant to get the COVID-19 vaccine, but not all of them are what you would call "anti-vaxxers."

Murfreesboro resident Kathleen McCormick wants people to stop being quick to judge.

McCormick was recently diagnosed with breast cancer, caught COVID-19, and lost her husband of 12 years Joey McCormick to the virus in July.

“Every time they would try to bring him out of sedition, his body would get agitated. They would have to stop,” McCormick said.

She still remembers the last conversation she had with him.

“I spent that time telling him I love him. Telling him goodbye. Telling him I thought he was incredibly brave,” McCormick said.

McCormick and her husband were not vaccinated, but not against getting the shot.

“My vaccination had to be timed particularly around my infusion treatment and was told to set vaccination to accommodate chemo treatment. He was thinking about me and that’s why he didn’t take that next step,” McCormick said.

“It’s really unfair to look at someone and point at what they should have done. I think we need to focus on moving forward,” Vanderbilt University Medical Center Associate Professor of Medicine Dr. Vandana Abramson said.

Abramson said the COVID-19 vaccines are safe for cancer patients, but the timing of receiving one needs to be worked out with a doctor.

“Patients receiving chemotherapy may not be able to mount as robust of a response to a vaccine as those whose immune systems are not compromised, but they'll likely get some response, and some protection,” Abramson said.

McCormick wants strangers to hold off on judging.

“There are people who lost loved ones and who have delayed vaccination for a reason,” McCormick explained.

McCormick has an appointment to get her COVID-19 vaccine later this month.

She has three more rounds of chemo treatment and says the treatment is working.

A GoFundMe has been set up for the McCormick family. Money raised will help her as she battles cancer and raises their three kids.

The American Cancer Society says many expert medical groups recommend that most patients with cancer or a history of cancer should get a COVID-19 vaccine. Since the situation for every person is different, it is best to discuss the risks and benefits of getting the COVID-19 vaccine with your cancer doctor, who can advise you.