Florida dad regrets not getting COVID vaccine after daughter, 15, dies

Coronavirus

PENSACOLA, Fla. (WKRG) – A Florida family is grieving after their 15-year-old died of COVID-19.

Victoria Ramirez was a sophomore at Booker T. Washington High School in Pensacola.

“She was so beautiful and so smart,” said her father, Hector Ramirez.

Doctors told Victoria’s father that she was suffering from pneumonia caused by COVID-19. (Photo courtesy of Hector Ramirez)

Victoria tested positive for COVID-19 almost two weeks ago. She had a fever and body aches. Later, she was sent home from the hospital, but then her dad had to take her back.  

“Within four or five days, her breathing started getting worse and worse,” he said.

Doctors told him that she had pneumonia caused by COVID-19. Just after she started to get better, she stopped breathing. Hector Ramirez had to leave the room while they tried to resuscitate her.  

“About 15, 20 minutes later, they couldn’t bring her back,” he said, holding back tears.

Hector Ramirez says he’s now thinking of getting vaccinated. He didn’t get the shot for his daughter, and he regrets it.

“It’s something that’s going to be stuck with me for my whole life, thinking maybe I should have done that sooner,” he said. “Maybe I could’ve done something to help prevent this.”

He says Victoria was healthy, but that changed quickly. He urged more people, especially parents, to take COVID-19 seriously.

“I don’t want any other parent to go through what I did — seeing my daughter perfectly healthy one day, then following a week and a half, she’s gone,” he said.

Hector Ramirez has since started a GoFundMe to pay for his daughter’s funeral.

“My beautiful daughter Victoria Ramirez lost her battle fighting covid pneumonia,” he writes on the fundraising page. “She was brave all the way to the end.”

The delta variant is filling hospitals, sickening alarming numbers of children and driving coronavirus deaths in some places to the highest levels of the entire pandemic. Some school systems that reopened their classrooms are abruptly switching back to remote learning because of outbreaks. Legal disputes, threats and violence have erupted over mask and vaccine requirements.

The U.S. death toll stands at more than 650,000, with one major forecast model projecting it will top 750,000 by Dec. 1.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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