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Family of Vaccinated Mom Says She Died of COVID Because Others 'Chose Not to Be'




Candace Ayers
Candace Ayers  

Family Photo

The family of a 66-year-old woman who died of a breakthrough COVID-19 infection included a powerful message in her obituary for people who have chosen not to get the vaccine.

Candace Cay Ayers of Illinois died of COVID-19 complications on Sept. 3, months after she was vaccinated against the virus. Though she was vaccinated, Ayers also had rheumatoid arthritis, a disease that weakens the immune system's ability to fight off infections, according to her family.

Her son, Marc Ayers, told CNN his mother likely became infected when she took a trip to Mississippi in July. At the time, COVID-19 cases across the country were at their lowest in months.

"I took my parents to get that second jab, and we were all so excited," he told the outlet. "We are a family that believes in science. We believe in masks, and we believe in vaccines. We were ready to get back to normal."

The family said Ayers was in the ICU and spent the last weeks of her life on a ventilator, according to WLS.

RELATED: 1 in 500 Americans Have Now Died of COVID-19

"She was preceded in death by more than 4,531,799 others infected with Covid-19," the family wrote in her obituary, referring to the worldwide death toll caused by the virus.

"She was vaccinated but was infected by others who chose not to be," the obit continued. "The cost was her life."

RELATED: 4-Year-Old Texas Girl Dies of COVID After Unvaccinated Mom Contracts Virus: 'She Was Beautiful'

In an interview with Today, Marc said his mother was a "fighter" and had expressed her frustration with people who refused to take precautions for themselves and others during the pandemic.

"Mom was so angry at people for not getting vaccinated and not wearing a mask," he said.

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"We're a family that believes in science, believes in the medical advice of the community, medical recommendations from doctors," he added. "We followed everything very strictly. So all that combined is kind of what we're still in shock about how it didn't seem to matter, at least for my mom."

According to a New York Times database, more than 666,800 Americans have died of COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic in early 2020.

As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, PEOPLE is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from the CDC, WHO and local public health departments. PEOPLE has partnered with GoFundMe to raise money for the COVID-19 Relief Fund, a GoFundMe.org fundraiser to support everything from frontline responders to families in need, as well as organizations helping communities. For more information or to donate, click here.

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