‘My biggest regret’: Unvaccinated Kennewick man battling COVID-19 in the ICU

KENNEWICK, Wash. — Richard Linderman didn’t expect to be in the hospital, fighting for his life, just two weeks before his 50th birthday.

Linderman was recently diagnosed with COVID-19 after multiple trips to the emergency room. 14 other family members are battling the virus too, including his 8-months-pregnant daughter also in the Intensive Care Unit.

Before COVID-19, Linderman said he was a “skeptic” but now it’s his “biggest regret.”

“I’m trying to get the reality of this story out there for the skeptics like myself that thought they’d never get it,” Linderman said. “This past week was an eye-opener.”

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Linderman explained that “all of the back and forth of the vaccine” including the “parade on TV about getting the vaccine” kept him from becoming vaccinated.

“What I truly didn’t know is that it would’ve kept the severity of the symptoms away and I might not be fighting for my life so that’s on me. Once we’re able to my entire family will get vaccinated,” Linderman said.

Within the first four days of symptoms, Linderman said he kept getting worse and was finally admitted on day seven.

“It’s been an emotional roller coaster listening to the doctors tell you there’s a very high chance of you dying from this,” Linderman said. “The vaccine would’ve curbed the symptoms so it’s been a week of regret for not getting the vaccine as I’m now fighting for my life.”

It’s now day 10 of symptoms and Linderman said they’re fluctuating.

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“This new variant comes on very quickly and the effects are more severe. I had every symptom that it offers. My family had almost all the symptoms too and it’s PAINFUL,” Linderman said.

Hundreds of photos, videos, likes, and supportive comments have flooded his Facebook page, something he said he’s “grateful” for.

“The debate on TV will go on forever. I’m the living proof that it’s here and if a shot can save you from having to fight for your life like I am, then don’t you think it’s worth it?” Linderman said. “This side effect is by far worse than any side effect a vaccine could have!”

Now friends and family are racing to get their shots before it’s too late.

“It’s humbling and gratifying to know that my story might help save lives and help families not have to go through what my family is going through,” Linderman said. “I cry all day at how much love and support is coming not only from our state but many others. I’m glad I’ve made such a positive impact in the world by trying to create smiles and inspire others. I’m honored and humbled and can’t thank everyone enough for the prayers and kind words.”

A GoFundMe to help cover living expenses and medical bills has raised nearly half of its $5,000 dollar goal. To donate, click here. To follow along with updates, click here.

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