Maurice Shepperson Southwest Airlines flight attendant dies from COVID-19 despite being fully vaccinated after trip to Hawaii. Took every precaution against virus.
Maurice Reginald ‘Reggie’ Shepperson, 36, who was based in Las Vegas, died at Henderson Hospital on Tuesday, August 10, after spending weeks on a ventilator.
The airline worker had checked into the hospital on July 7, weeks after testing positive following his trip to Hawaii in early June.
The Clark County based flight attendant is among a small fraction of Americans who have died after suffering ‘breakthrough’ coronavirus infections after vaccination.
Breakthrough cases & deaths amongst vaccinated
Although COVID-19 vaccines do not offer 100 percent protection from the virus, they are still highly effective. There are breakout cases with the Delta variant, however, the fully vaccinated are less likely to get severely ill or die from the virus, according to the CDC.
By the end of July at least 125,000 fully vaccinated Americans had tested positive for Covid, of which 1,400 individuals had died, according to data collected by NBC News. Which is to say of those individuals fully vaccinated who still tested positive for COVID-19, just over 1% would go on to die.
Shepperson had been a flight attendant since 2007 and had worked for Southwest for nine years according to his Linkedin profile.
Dubbed ‘high flyer’ by his co-workers, Shepperson was known to pick up more work trips than any other flight attendant, both for the money and the ability to travel to new places.
A flight attendant from his training class, Kiki Lee told USA Today: ‘He was hitting the skies right way, using his benefits. He loved working, and he loved the perks.’
One of Shepperson’s first trips was to China, shortly after graduating from flight school.
‘It hurt me so bad because it was just so quick,’
He took his mother Dawn on one of his last work trips to Hawaii before contracting the virus. Both were repeatedly tested before leaving for the Pacific island.
He wrote in a Facebook post from the trip: ‘Took mommy on my work trip to Hawaii I’ll be back to get her tomorrow lol love this woman with all my heart.’
Maurice fell ill after returning home and immediately began to quarantine.
He would later test positive for COVID-19. The worker’s mother did not contract the virus.
Dawn, who left food on her son’s doorstep, told the Las Vegas Review-Journal that her son was in a lot of pain and couldn’t get up.
It shows how quick life can change,’ Dawn Shepperson-Bernard told the outlet. ‘How you can build a life for yourself and how quickly your life can just be taken away. Everything that you worked for, so hard, it can just basically be left in ruins. Your family left in ruins.’
‘It hurt me so bad because it was just so quick,’ Shepperson added. ‘I didn’t have time to really even acknowledge what is going on. This is mind-blowing. It’s not real. It’s not real. It’s not real.’
Fundraiser for funeral expenses
On July 7, Shepperson drove himself to the emergency room with breathing problems.
He would spend the following weeks in the hospital on a ventilator before passing away from the virus.
Southwest spokesman, Brandy King confirmed Shepperon’s death, but the company declined to say anything further in respect to the family.
Dawn said Southwest Airlines reached out to her after the death of her son, as well as to his best friend and fellow flight attendant, Marcia Hildreth, to fly her to Vegas from a work trip.
Hildreth has also started a GoFundMe page to help cover funeral expenses. As of Sunday night, $10,900 had been raised.
Clark County, Las Vegas, currently has over 11,000 COVID-19 cases and over 300,000 cases in Nevada state.
Southwest is one of three airlines in the US that are not requiring employees to get vaccinated, CNN reported on Wednesday. CEO Gary Kelly said the company will ‘continue to strongly encourage’ that workers get vaccinated, but won’t require it.