Coronavirus: Illinois woman’s obituary lists unvaccinated as cause of COVID-19 death

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — The family of an Illinois woman who died from COVID-19 despite receiving two Moderna doses published an obituary that blamed people who refused to get vaccinated for her death.

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Candace Cay Kruger Ayers, 66, of Springfield, died Sept. 3, according to her obituary.

“She was preceded in death by more than 4,531,799 others infected with COVID-19,” according to the obituary, which was published Sept. 4 in The State Journal-Register of Springfield. “She was vaccinated but was infected by others who chose not to be. The cost was her life.”

The number represents the total global coronavirus death toll on the day Ayers died, CNN reported.

Candace Ayers’ son, Marc Ayers, told “Today” that his mother had received her second dose of the Moderna vaccine. Family members believe she contracted a breakthrough infection in July after visiting an unvaccinated friend in Mississippi, the website reported. Her condition worsened rapidly and she died three weeks after being placed on a ventilator, according to “Today.”

“Mom was a fighter. And Mom was so angry at people for not getting vaccinated and not wearing a mask,” Marc Ayers, 36, told “Today.” “Mom was very vocal about people who just refused to take those precautions and so we thought it was a good idea to put that in the obituary and make a statement out of it.”

Only 42% of Mississippi’s population was fully vaccinated by mid-September, according to the state’s health department.

As of Wednesday evening, the worldwide death toll from COVID-19 was 4,656,615, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

“This all could have been avoided,” Marc Ayers told CNN. “This could have been prevented by a few acts of kindness. They were in a state that had one of the lowest vaccination rates in the country. Getting a vaccine and wearing a mask for others ... had this been done, she would be here today.”

The obituary was written by the daughter of Candace Ayers, Amanda Ayers Foster, “Today” reported.

Candace Ayers was born in Mobile, Alabama, and graduated from Pawnee High School, south of Springfield, in 1973, according to her obituary. She married Terry Ayers on Oct. 7, 1978. She was an orthodontic assistant for several years before deciding to become a stay-at-home mother. After her children were grown, she returned to the workforce for five years at St. John’s Prairie Heart Institute in Springfield.

When Candace and Terry Ayers drove to Mississippi, her children were wary.

“My mother had severe rheumatoid arthritis. We were always the most concerned about her getting it because she was immunocompromised,” Marc Ayers told CNN. “We were wrestling with whether they should have traveled.

“But things were looking so good, and with them being fully vaccinated, we just didn’t have any thoughts of them going to Mississippi. The delta variant was just hitting the radar. Breakthrough cases were rare at that point. Our worst nightmare came true.”

The Ayers family has received positive and negative feedback to the obituary, Marc Ayers told CNN.

“It’s been really wonderful to hear from friends and strangers regarding the obituary,” Marc Ayers told the news network. “Because of our story, people have told us they are getting vaccinated.

“Of course, there are negative comments as well, but the majority has been positive.”

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