Covid survivor returns to hospital to apologise for not getting vaccine

‘I deeply regret, you know, not making the decision to get vaccinated,’ Richard Soliz tells doctors at Seattle’s Harborview Medical Center

Nathan Place
New York
Monday 08 November 2021 18:22
<p>Richard Soliz, who spent 28 days in the hospital for Covid-19, tells doctors he regrets not getting vaccinated</p>

Richard Soliz, who spent 28 days in the hospital for Covid-19, tells doctors he regrets not getting vaccinated

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A man who narrowly survived Covid-19 has returned to the hospital that saved his life to deliver a heartfelt message.

“I deeply regret, you know, not making the decision to get vaccinated,” Richard Soliz told Dr James Town of Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, in an emotional moment captured by KOMO News.

Mr Soliz spent 28 days at Harborview from August to September, when he was treated for the deadly virus and put on a ventilator. When the hospital’s staff first asked him if he’d been vaccinated, Mr Soliz says he was embarrassed to say no.

But in October, when Mr Soliz returned to Harborview in good health, doctors didn’t shame him for his decision.

“No one blames you or judges you,” Dr Town told him. “Everyone is just happy that you are willing to share the story, I think. And happy that you’re better.”

“Oh wow, you look great!” a nurse named Kimmy Siebens exclaimed when she saw him. “To see you alive is just amazing.”

Mr Soliz, a graphic designer, says he was discouraged from getting the vaccine by misinformation he saw on social media, including that the shots have dangerous side effects or contain a secret microchip.

All of that is false. The three vaccines authorised in the United States – from Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson – have proven extremely safe and effective, and do not contain microchips or tracking devices of any kind.

But Mr Soliz chose to forgo the shot, and in August, he started to feel ill. He developed a fever, became exhausted, and struggled to breathe.

“That’s when I really knew I was in a bad situation,” Mr Soliz told KOMO. “That’s when I knew, hey, this is Covid. Man, I contracted the virus.”

Before long, he was in the intensive care unit at Harborview. Dr Town, the ICU’s director, says he wasn’t surprised when Mr Soliz said no to the vaccination question. Vaccinated patients in the ICU, he says, are “really uncommon”.

Mr Soliz says he is still slowly recovering from the virus. His lungs are scarred, and he gets winded easily – but he’s alive.

“We never really get to see people get that much better,” Nurse Siebens said. “And so it’s amazing. It makes it feel like it’s definitely all worth it.”

In addition to thanking the hospital, Mr Soliz says he has a message for Covid skeptics.

“Please go get vaccinated because this virus is real,” he said. “Real enough to take someone’s life or put you in the ICU.”

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