Arkansas Nurse Won't Get Vaccinated After Losing Parents to COVID-19

An Arkansas nurse told the 'Wall Street Journal' that, despite the deaths of her father and stepmother from COVID-19, she won’t get vaccinated. 


Image via Getty/Mario Tama


An Arkansas nurse has told the Wall Street Journal that, despite the deaths of her father and stepmother from COVID-19, she won’t get vaccinated. 

The story, which focuses on Sebastian County, Arkansas’ vaccination rates and the death of an architect who put off his vaccination, includes talking points from nurse Shanda Parish, who says differing views on COVID have caused family troubles. 

Some people will never be convinced. Shanda Parish, a nurse who has cancer, said she simply doesn't trust the vaccine, even after losing both her dad and stepmom to Covid. Divides over vaccines have caused a rift between her siblings.

— Elizabeth Findell (@efindell) August 8, 2021

Parish, who lives in the Fort Smith-Greenwood area, explained that her father and stepmother Robert and Vi Herring, who were in their 70s, didn’t like the idea of getting vaccinated. They eventually caught COVID and died from the virus.

Her last communication with her father was a voice mail he sent from his hospital bed. “It doesn’t even sound human,” she said of the noises he was making. “I don’t like hearing it, but I can’t delete it.”

Still, Parish said she doesn’t trust the vaccine and doesn’t regret her parents not getting it.

“We didn’t kill them, but some people make us feel like it’s our fault they’re gone,” Parish said of comments she’s heard from those close to her. “No one should try to make you feel guilty because someone died.”

Parish’s brother, David Herring, told the WSJ that he’s tried to push his family to get vaccinated and that—even after his parents died—he still heard conspiracy theories from people he knew. 

“I’m absolutely angry and frustrated,” Herring said. “Their age and health conditions—they should have gotten vaccinated really early…. And then trying to talk to friends of theirs and hearing these ridiculous things about depopulation and computer chips.”

Sebastian County has reportedly seen 292 COVID deaths and 737 cases since the start of the pandemic. Arkansas has averaged 2,800 new cases daily, with positive COVID tests hitting an all-time high just last month.

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