UPDATED: 8:00 p.m. ET, Jan. 13, 2023
Originally published: Aug. 30, 2021
For a while there, smack dab in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic, anti-vaxxers with a platform who have protested against or tried to discredit the COVID-19 vaccine were steadily dying from the virus. That trend has slowed significantly over the last year, but it’s still a reminder of the possible consequences of not just discrediting the vaccine but also refusing to have it administered.
At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, right-wing talk show hosts and some celebrities alike had been railing against the vaccine. As a result, many of their listeners also didn’t get vaccinated. That sparked a spate of some of those same conservative mouthpieces dying from COVID-19, heightening concerns that even those deaths wouldn’t be enough to change skeptics’ minds about the vaccine.
As the new variants and other mutating versions of the virus infect more Americans, cases have been on the rise and there are fears that hospitals once again could become overwhelmed. According to the Centers for Disease Control, unvaccinated people are 29 times more likely to be hospitalized and five times more likely to be infected by the virus.
Although vaccinations have been around for over two centuries, the spread of misinformation has made it difficult for people to understand the truth. The internet has become the dominant place for people to get information, increasing the chances of spreading fake news, which can lead to mistrust and facts becoming less important.
Anti-vaxxers have found online communities that strengthen their viewpoints instead of presenting clear and precise answers to questions many people have about vaccinations. In those communities, opinions and general statements turn into solid facts. If they double down on their viewpoints, it can become impossible to change their minds. They have a tendency to begin to think they are right and everyone else is wrong, which causes them to search for more information that supports their own views. In doing this, it becomes easy to draw conclusions from a lack of evidence. It takes very little research on the internet to find people who say COVID-19 vaccines are harmful. Many times, anti-vaxxers take statements out of context and misinterpret data altogether causing even more confusion.
You do not get a second chance at life and sadly these anti-vaxxers won’t get the opportunity to fix their mistakes.
Keep reading to find a list of notable anti-vaxxers who have died from COVID-19.
1. Vachik Mangassarian, actor
Television actor Vachik Mangassarian died in January 2022 at the age of 78 from COVID-19 complications. He was known for his roles in NCIS, Curb Your Enthusiasm, and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D, but premiered in many TV Shows during his long career. The Armenian-born actor landed his first Hollywood role in 1978. He was a strong supporter of the Armenian community and launched a radio show, which was converted into a television show, “The Armenian National Network.”
Mangassarian was confirmed to be vaccinated by his manager, but before his death, he frequently posted about his opposition to the COVID-19 vaccine and spread misinformation about the pandemic. He suggested that the pandemic was part of a grand conspiracy and posted a parody photo and men in sheep costumes with the caption reading, “Millions test positive for highly contagious Sheeple-19 Virus.”
He also posted a photo of a fake billboard that read: “I am more afraid of a Democrat in the White House than I am of COVID-19.”
According to his representatives, although he initially opposed the virus, Mangassarian allegedly changed his tune due to vaccine mandates required to work on TV and film projects in Hollywood.
2. Ex-Washington State Trooper Robert LaMay
LaMay previously made headlines for quitting his job after Washington Gov. Jay Inslee instituted a vaccine mandate. He made the rounds on the conservative news circuit after reportedly telling the governor to kiss his a**. Reports indicate he died from COVID-19 complications.
3. Kelly Ernby
California Deputy District Attorney Kelly Ernby died at the age of 46 from complications due to COVID-19. Ernby, a Republican activist who was outspoken against the COVID-19 vaccine, ran for California State Assembly in 2020. While working at the Orange County District Attorney’s Office, Ernby specialized in environmental and consumer law.
District Attorney Todd Spitzer said in a statement posted to Facebook, “The Orange County district attorney’s office is utterly heartbroken by the sudden and unexpected passing of Deputy Dist. Atty. Kelly Ernby,” wrote Spitzer. “Kelly was an incredibly vibrant and passionate attorney who cared deeply about the work that we do as prosecutors — and deeply about the community we all fight so hard to protect.”
Ernby repeatedly spoke out against vaccine mandates. In December, she was a featured speaker during a right-wing student rally protesting vaccination mandates at California State University, Fullerton. During the rally, she told protesters “there’s nothing that matters more than our freedoms right now.”
Many conservatives were devastated by her loss, calling her an inspiration to the Republican Party and a shining light that will forever be missed.
4. Marcus Lamb
The founder of the largest Christian television TV channel who just happened to be anti-vaccine died of the coronavirus. Marcus Lamb, a Christian evangelist who founded and was the president of Daystar Television Network, died in November 2021, the network announced in a tweet.
Lamb’s son refused to accept reality and called his father’s case of COVID-19 “a spiritual attack from the enemy.”
In an example of the stance embraced by Lamb, Daystar said in a court filing that a vaccine mandate was a “sin against God’s Holy Word.”
Instead of the vaccine, Lamb prior to his death treated his condition with ivermectin, according to Newsweek. Notably, the FDA warned against using ivermectin — medicine used to treat animals — by reminding people in a tweet from August, “You are not a horse. You are not a cow.”
5. Bob EnyartSource:Getty
Bob Enyart, a Denver-based pastor and talk show host, died in September 2021. He was against mask mandates he was in addition to his opposition to the COVID-19 vaccine.
About a month before his death, Enyart wrote on his website that he and his wife “have sworn off taking the Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson vaccines because, as those firms admit, they tested these three products on the cells of aborted babies.”
He said he was waiting for “vaccines being developed morally” and lamented none of them would be available anytime soon.
6. Marc Bernier
Marc Bernier was a conservative, right-wing radio host in Florida who dubbed himself “Mr. Anti-Vax.” He regularly protested against the vaccine as was not vaccinated. He died August 30, 2020.
7. Phil Valentine
Phil Valentine was a conservative talk show host who died August 21, 2021 from COVID-19 after expressing skepticism about the vaccine. He had also not been vaccinated.
8. Dick Farrel
Dick Farrel was a conservative talk show host from Florida. He was an avid Trump supporter who changed his mind about the vaccine after her fell sick from the virus, but it was too late. He died after a two-week battle on August 4, 2021.
9. Tod Tucker
Tod Tucker was a conservative talk show host from Oklahoma City, OK. He did on August 11, 2021, after an onset of viral pneumonia as the result of COVID-19.
10. Dr. Jimmy DeYoung Sr.
Dr. Jimmy DeYoung Sr. was a Christian radio host and Bible Prophecy Teacher. DeYoung, who died August 15, 2021, once called the vaccine “government control,” and was not vaccinated.
11. Caleb Wallace
Caleb Wallace was the Founder of the “The San Angelo Freedom Defenders” anti-mask group and he organized anti-mask rallies. He died on August 28, 2021. He had been unconscious and on a ventilator for weeks before he died.
12. Herman CainSource:Getty
Herman Cain was an American businessman and activist for the Tea Party movement. He was an active Trump supporter who unfortunately didn’t live long enough to become a true anti-vaxxer. Before he died, he vocally opposed masks and stay-at-home orders. He died on July 30, 2020, from COVID-19.
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