A widower in Alabama is urging pregnant women to get vaccinated against COVID-19 after losing his wife and unborn daughter to the virus. Haley Richardson, a 32-year-old labor and delivery nurse from Theodore, Ala., fell ill after testing positive for COVID-19 at the end of July when she was nearly 7 months along, husband Jordan Richardson tells WKRG. Richardson's mother, Julie Mulkey, tells AL.com that her daughter decided not to get vaccinated because she had concerns about prior anaphylaxis reactions and because of "negative reporting" regarding the vaccine and reproduction, Mulkey says. "That made her afraid to get it."
When Richardson's heart rate increased, she was taken to a hospital, then transferred to the ICU at another hospital in Mobile. "After about three or four days in the hospital, the [obstetrician] told her that she was going to lose the baby," family friend Jason Whatley tells AL.com. Richardson wrote of the prognosis for "my sweet baby girl whom I thought I was protecting in my own womb" in an Aug. 9 Facebook post, which would be her last. "She continued to get worse and worse," Whatley says.
She was put on a ventilator on Aug. 16, five days after the CDC noted that COVID-19 vaccines are safe for pregnant people. Her unborn daughter died two days later. Richardson followed on Friday. "They wished she'd been vaccinated, but outside of that, when she got sick, they did all the right things," Whatley tells AL.com. "And she still died." Her husband notes Richardson had been healthy, with no preexisting conditions apart from her pregnancy. "I think she would have advocated for [the vaccine] … knowing this would be the outcome," he adds, per WKRG. The couple's first daughter will turn 3 this week. (Read more COVID-19 stories.)