‘I wish I’d had jab’: Father who refused vaccine dies of Covid

Football coach Matthew Keenan had told doctors and friends he wanted to ‘turn back time’

Colin Drury
Wednesday 28 July 2021 13:43 BST
<p>Matthew Keenan</p>

Matthew Keenan

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A self-confessed vaccine sceptic has died in hospital aged just 34 after contracting Covid-19.

Father-of-three Matthew Keenan said in the weeks before his death that he wanted to “turn back time,” teling friends and doctors at Bradford Royal Infirmary after falling ill: “I wished I’d had the jab.”

His death comes two weeks after a photo of him wearing an oxygen mask and hooked up to a CPAP machine was shared by Dr Leanne Cheyne, a respiratory consultant at the West Yorkshire hospital.

"Matthew has agreed for me to share his story,” she wrote. “Footie coach and dad. Self-confessed vaccine sceptic until he caught Covid. If he could turn back time he would.”

At the time, she added that Keenan was would be admitted to intensive care if his condition did not improve. His health later deterioriated and he died on Monday.

Keenan – who had no underlying health conditions – had earlier written of his own regret on social media. In posts dated 2 July, he said he had tested positive for coronavirus and was feeling “the most poorly I have ever been and I feel like it’s getting worse”.

Paying tribute on Tuesday, Billy Brown, a friend of more than 20 years, said the world had lost “the kindest man”.

The 38-year-old said: “As he was getting more poorly, he said he wished he had gotten the jab. I can’t believe he’s gone, he was the most likeable lad I’ve ever met.

“Most people have one or two best friends, he had 20 best friends. He had the biggest heart and treated everyone like they were his family.

“There were not many like him. He loved to enjoy himself, he was the life and soul of every party. Many people will miss him.”

He added: “We all thought it was Keenan, he’d get over this. Then he got put into a coma, and we were all praying for him. But we thought he was a fighter, a survivor.”

His death adds to a trend reported by medics who have treated Covid sceptics in the final stages of their life.

“One of the last things they do before they’re intubated is beg me for the vaccine,” wrote an Alabama doctor, Brytney Cobia, in a Facebook post last week. “I hold their hand and tell them that I’m sorry, but it’s too late.”

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