Kevin and Misty Mitchem Stafford Virginia anti vaxx couple die from COVID-19 two weeks apart, leaving behind five children.
A Virginia couple in their 40s who refused pleas from their family to get the COVID-19 vaccine because they read misinformation online passed away from the disease within two weeks of each other, leaving behind five children and an infant grandson.
Kevin, 48, and Misty Mitchem, 46 — high school sweethearts and married for 17 years — regretted not taking the vaccine just before they died, according to their bereaved loved ones.
Misty Mitchem, a medical transcriptionist by trade, declined to get the shot even though she had diabetes.
‘He called me up [from the hospital] and said, “Mom, I love you and I wish that I’d got the shot”,’ Kevin’s mother, Terry Mitchem, told NBC Washington.
‘Of course I told him, “It’s past. You can’t do anything about it”.’
‘Both our families have been turned upside down,’
The couple is survived by their four young children: Riley, 17; Leah, 14; and twins Taylor and Aiden, 11.
Kevin Mitchem had one daughter, Angel, 22, from a previous relationship. Angel is the mother of Lincoln, who will turn two in November.
After their parents’ deaths, the four younger children went to live with an aunt and uncle in South Carolina, according to Kevin’s brother, Mike Mitchem of Spotsylvania County, Virginia.
‘Both our families have been turned upside down,’ Mike Mitchem told the Richmond Times-Dispatch.
‘The kids are the main thing. His oldest daughter just had a son, and I’m sure she wanted him to get close with his grandfather, and that’s not gonna happen now.’
‘I knew how deadly COVID could be so I went to my brother and asked him to please get vaccinated,’ Mike told via PEOPLE. ‘His response to me was to show different memes and stuff that he found on Facebook. He believed all that to be gospel truth and I could not change his mind.’
According to Mike, brother Kevin developed a cough last month and went to an urgent care facility in Stafford County. He was then sent home with cold medicine.
Couple’s health rapidly deteriorate
Kevin Mitchem then returned to the urgent care facility a few days later after he wasn’t feeling any better, his brother said.
The sibling then tested positive for COVID-19.
Days later, Misty Mitchem, who was diabetic, started feeling ill. She was then sent to Mary Washington Hospital in Fredericksburg, Virginia, where she was treated for COVID-19.
‘Kevin called me on a Monday and said, “Misty’s in the hospital”,’ Kevin’s father, Don Mitchem, said.
‘They say she’s got COVID. They automatically put her on a ventilator she was so bad.’
Misty Mitchem’s health deteriorated rapidly. Within days of her hospitalization, she was unable to breathe on her own and was put on a ventilator.
‘‘He never smoked, never drank, didn’t do drugs, didn’t have diabetes, wasn’t overweight, was a heavy equipment operator’
The next day, Kevin Mitchem was admitted to the same hospital. By the time he was taken in for treatment, the family was told that Misty Mitchem might have fewer than 24 hours to live.
Kevin Mitchem died on October 8. At one point during his treatment, he appeared to be improving, but the coronavirus inflicted too much damage on his lungs.
His brother said that he was a healthy person before COVID.
‘He never smoked, never drank, didn’t do drugs, didn’t have diabetes, wasn’t overweight, was a heavy equipment operator, did a lot of highway work,’ Mike Mitchem said.
Mike Mitchem said that his brother and his sister-in-law refused to get vaccinated even though the family was urging them to do so.
‘They’d just been leery. They were going off what they’ve been hearing and reading on the internet,’ he said.
Don and Terry Mitchem, who have each had their booster shots, said they tried in vain to convince Kevin to get vaccinated.
‘We’d just say, “Hey, Kevin let’s get the shot, buddy. It’s not going to hurt you”,’ Don Mitchem recalled.
‘I don’t need the shot’
‘“Oh, I know. I’m alright. I’m not going to get the shot. I don’t need it”,’ Kevin Mitchem would tell his father.
Mike Mitchem said he was angry about vaccine misinformation that likely cost the lives of his brother and his wife.
‘Part of our pain is anger,’ he said.
‘Anger because people are still not getting the vaccine. If you think about it, you need to have certain vaccines before you can even go to school.
‘What’s the big deal about this one?’
Mike Mitchem launched a GoFundMe crowdfunding page that aims to raise $20,000. As of Sunday noon, it had raised more than $19,100.
The proceeds will go toward helping the five children. Their aunt in South Carolina plans to start a college fund for them.
‘It’s not a lot. It’s not going to get them all through school, but it’s a start,’ Mike Mitchem said.
Kevin’s parents are now urging the public to get vaccinated.
‘Please get it,’ Don Mitchem said.
‘That virus will take you at any age.
‘But taking a mother and father is, it’s uncalled for.’