A woman held a vaccine clinic at her son’s memorial. He died with COVID-19 after refusing to get the shot.

A screenshot from CBS News showing a photo portrait of Brandon Haynes atop a cupboard.
A portrait of Brandon Haynes. CBS News
  • A Louisiana mother offered COVID-19 shots at her son’s memorial service, multiple outlets reported.
  • Her son had refused the vaccine and died following complications with the virus.
  • Cases are surging in the state, which lags behind the rest of the US for vaccinations.
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A Louisiana woman whose son refused to get the COVID-19 shot held a vaccine clinic at his memorial service after he died with the virus, according to multiple outlets.

Brandon Haynes of Baton Rouge died on June 9 after six days in hospital with breathing problems, his mother Betty Antoine told CNN.

The 46-year-old man had heart problems, and a lung condition called chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Both put patients at severe risk if they get COVID-19.

But, Antoine told CBS News, he refused the vaccine against his doctor’s advice.

“He told her no,” Antoine told the network.

“I begged him, I said ‘you need to take the vaccine, Brandon,'” she also said. “‘Oh no mom, I’m not going to take it and you’d better not take the vaccine either,'” she said, describing his position.

CBS reported that Haynes told his mom he’d done his research, and wanted to wait. According to CNN, he told all his friends to hold off also.

“But he did not tell his friends all the underlying health conditions he had,” Antoine told CBS.

She told the network that she felt “angry” after he died – “not so much at him, but because he did not take the vaccine,” she said. “And I said right there, I’m going to ask his friends and everybody to take that vaccine in honor of him.”

At his “celebration of life” service in Port Allen on July 18, Antoine organized for vaccines to be offered to those attending, Louisiana newspaper The Advocate reported.

Three people took up the offer on the day, according to CBS.

Another 10 have had the shot since, the network reported. “They’re going to take the vaccine, because Brandon died from the virus,” Antoine said of her son’s friends, according to CBS.

His death follows reports of high vaccine hesitancy – particularly among men – in the state, as The Advocate reported in April.

With 36.6% of its population fully vaccinated as of Monday, the state lags behind the national average of 49.1%, according to The New York Times vaccine tracker.

Louisiana is one of several states in which cases have risen sharply in recent weeks. As of Monday, the state was the worst in the US for new cases per head, recording 63 per 100,000, The Times reported.

“I just want people to know it can happen to you,” Antoine told CNN. “[…] And once you lose a loved one, for a reason that he could have been saved. It really hurts.”