Coronavirus: Fully vaccinated Southwest flight attendant dies of COVID-19

LAS VEGAS — A Las Vegas flight attendant has died following a month-long battle with COVID-19, despite being fully vaccinated.

Maurice Reginald “Reggie” Shepperson, 36, died early Tuesday after having tested positive for the virus in early July, KDFW reported.

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“It shows how quick life can change,” Dawn Shepperson-Bernard, Reggie Shepperson’s mother, told the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “How you can build a life for yourself, and how quickly your life can just be taken away. Everything that you worked for, so hard, it can just basically be left in ruins, your family left in ruins.”

Shepperson-Bernard confirmed to USA Today that her son had been fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

“It hurt me so bad because it was just so quick. I didn’t have time to really even acknowledge what (was) going on. This is mind-blowing. It’s not real. It’s not real. It’s not real,” Shepperson-Bernard told the outlet.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention considers a person fully vaccinated 14 days after they have received their final dose of an FDA-authorized vaccine, KDFW reported.

A New York Times analysis of data from 40 states shows that breakthrough infections and hospitalizations are exceedingly rare, occuring in as few as .1% of hospitalizations and .2% of deaths. The rate can vary widely however. The same data shows that as many as 5% of hospitalizations and 6% of covid-related deaths are due to breakthrough cases in immunized individuals.

Marcia Hildreth, a close friend and coworker of Shepperson, told USA Today that he took every precaution to prevent contracting COVID-19, including wearing a mask, washing his hands frequently, sanitizing surfaces and wiping down every hotel room he stayed in.

Southwest Airlines issued the following statement:

“We are heartbroken over the loss; the Southwest Family is supporting each other, and our Employee’s family, during this difficult time. Out of respect for Reggie’s family, we do not have additional details to share.”

Dallas-based Southwest confirmed Friday that Shepperson was employed by the airline for nine years, and Shepperson-Bernard told the Review-Journal that he previously worked for AirTran Airways and had been a flight attendant since about 2007.

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