Kevin and Misty Mitchem, who left behind five children, passed away after refusing the COVID-19 vaccine — despite their family’s insistence to get inoculated
How many times do we have to hear this story before its lessons finally set in? Kevin, 48, and Misty Mitchem, 46, an unvaccinated couple in their 40s, both died from COVID-19 just weeks apart. Misty succumbed to the virus on September 23, 2021, the same day Kevin was admitted to the hospital for severe complications from the virus. Kevin died a couple weeks later on October 8. The Virginia couple left behind five children and one grandchild: Riley, 17; Leah, 14, and twins Taylor and Aiden, 11. Kevin also had one daughter, Angel, from a previous relationship, who is 22 and has a son, Lincoln. The four younger children went to South Carolina to live with an aunt and uncle in South Carolina in the wake of this tragedy.
“I knew how deadly COVID could be so I went to my brother and asked him to please get vaccinated,” Kevin’s brother Mike Mitchem told People. “His response to me was to show different memes and stuff that he found on Facebook. He believed all that to be gospel truth and I could not change his mind.”
“The heartbreaking part was while [Kevin] was in the hospital, he asked the medical staff to give him the shot. They had to tell him it was too late,” Mitchem continued. Kevin’s last words to his mother were, “Mom I love you, and I wish I had gotten the shot.”
Kevin’s father Don also recalled repeatedly begging his son and daughter-in-law to get the vaccine. “We’d just say, ‘Hey, Kevin let’s get the shot, buddy. It’s not going to hurt you.”
The couple was relatively healthy before succumbing to the disease
Misty had diabetes, and her health deteriorated much more quickly than that of her husband. She was admitted to the hospital within days of developing symptoms, and by Sept. 22, she was put on a ventilator, and her kidneys were functioning at 50%. Kevin, according to Mike, was young, healthy, and physically active, and he didn’t have any of the conditions that increase risk for complications due to COVID-19.
“My brother was healthy. He was still pretty much young and he had everything to live for,” Mike continued. “He had five kids and a grandson and now all of them have lost him. It’s hard on my parents. They’re 73, and my mom said your kids are not supposed to die before you.”
Those that survive Misty and Kevin have one hope: that this will encourage others to get vaccinated before it is too late
“The main emphasis we would like to push is ‘get vaccinated. If not for you, then for your loved ones,” Mike told People. “If just one person gets their life saved from vaccinations, then we did our part.”
“Please get it,” Kevin’s father Don Mitchem told NBC4 through tears. “That virus will take you at any age. But taking a mother and father is, it’s uncalled for,” he said.
So, for what feels like the umpteenth time, let’s all say it together: vaccines save lives. Facebook is not a foolproof source for information, especially regarding COVID-19. Get vaccinated. Wear a mask. Do your part to protect not only yourself, but those around you from having to deal with the aftermath of a decision based on a meme instead of actual medical information.