Man changes his mind about vaccines after battling COVID-19
CARROLL COUNTY, Md. (WBAL) – While more and more people are vaccinated, there is still a substantial number of people who refuse to get the vaccine. But some people eventually change their minds.
Brent Whalen, 54, changed his mind about the vaccine after spending 35 days at Carroll Hospital Center with COVID-19, including six days in the critical care unit.
“You face your own mortality. It’s right there - you just don’t know if you can hang on for another five or 10 minutes,” Whalen described.
In the days leading up to his diagnosis, Whalen played golf and moved his daughter into his college dorm room.
When offered concert tickets that required a vaccine or negative test, he decided to get the shot.
“I thought it was like some kind of conspiracy; that 10 years from now a hundred million Americans are going to die of some kind of rare disease because of the long-term studies haven’t been there as far as what the vaccine was going to do,” Whalen said.
A day after getting the J&J vaccine, Whalen didn’t feel well and thought it was side effects from the vaccine, but then things went downhill.
“By the time I got to Express Care, I was so sick they actually called the ambulance right from there,” he said. “When your lungs shut down it’s not gradual … I’m like all of the sudden I can’t breathe.”
Whalen was put on oxygen and into a prone position and said he thought he was going to die.
The hospital called his sister to make sure he had a will and his affairs were in order.
“It’s so hard when you’re laying there, and you don’t know what’s going to happen and your nurses are telling you your numbers aren’t getting any better,” Whalen said.
Whalen says he kept thinking of his daughter and how he couldn’t leave her.
He’s much better now but says his lungs are permanently scarred. He does respiratory therapy at home.
“Learn the facts, weigh the consequences because the thing I tell people is maybe there are some long-term effects down the road, but I know that this virus will kill you now and you won’t have down the road,” Whalen said.
Whalen is no longer an anti-vaxxer and asks those who don’t want to get vaccinated or wear masks to take themselves out of the equation.
“Think about the people that depend on you and love you and care about you and think about what would happen if you’re not here. That’s the message,” he said.
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