BRISTOL, Va. - Forty-three-year-old Travis Campbell regrets not getting the COVID-19 vaccine before the illness hospitalized him last month, and he's hoping other unvaccinated people will heed his warning.
"I have never been this sick in my life!! My whole family has covid, i truly regret not getting the vaccine," Campbell said in a July 25 Facebook post. "Im testifying to all my bulletproof friends thats holding out, it's time to protect your family, its not worth getting long term lung damage or death please go get the vaccine."
Campbell is one of many unvaccinated Americans who have become infected and are changing their tune on vaccinations. Danny Reeves, a North Texas pastor, has been battling the virus for more than 20 days. He was not vaccinated but now plans to after his near-death experience.
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Dr. Brytney Cobia, who treats COVID patients in Alabama, says many of her patients beg for a vaccine before being intubated. Cobia said she holds their hand and tells them "I'm sorry, but it's too late."
Campbell has spent most of the last two weeks posting videos of his hospital stay. They show him hooked up to medical equipment, coughing as he struggles to speak. And when he does speak, he can only muster a couple of words before needing another breath.
In an Aug. 2 video, Campbell said COVID-19 has damaged his lungs, left him with pneumonia and given him blood clots.
Campbell posted a video on Aug. 5 saying that he regrets not listening to the experts who advised the public to get vaccinated. He said his family believed they had COVID-19 before the pandemic got mainstream attention because they had become ill with the "exact same symptoms."
And he said the politicization of the pandemic led him to reject the conversation about inoculations. But now, he’s calling COVID-19 a killer and "the real enemy."
"It’s already here in our homes and in our communities," Campbell stressed. "You’ve got to take a minute, take on hour, make a doctor’s appointment. Please, go see your doctor. Talk to your children, talk to your parents, talk to your husband. Just don’t be like me and do nothing."
A medical worker in a ward at the RZD Medicine chain's Semashko Hospital for COVID-19 patients in Stavropolskaya Street. (Photo by Stanislav KrasilnikovTASS via Getty Images)
The message claims "a bunch of people" came in to be vaccinated because they knew Campbell or saw his story on the news.
"People are getting vaccinated," he said in the post’s caption, "makes me feel like we are spreading the word and hopefully saving lives!"
This story was reported from Atlanta.