‘We were vaccinated … the effects were greatly minimized’: Sen. Vickers details COVID experience

March 2021 file photo of Utah Sen. Evan Vickers at his store, Bulloch's, in Cedar City, Utah, March 24, 2021 | Photo by David Dudley, St. George News / Cedar City News

ST. GEORGE — Cedar City-based state Sen. Evan Vickers said that having COVID-19 along with his wife has convinced him of one thing: If he hadn’t been vaccinated, it would have been a lot worse. 

File photo of Cedar City Hospital, Cedar City, Utah, March 28, 2021 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News / Cedar City News

“My wife and I can attest firsthand that, because we were vaccinated, when we did test positive for COVID, the effects were greatly minimized over what they could have been,” Vickers, the Republican majority leader of the Utah Senate, told St. George News on Sunday. “I have had a lot of conversations with health care professionals about COVID.  The bottom line is that we need antibodies to fight off the effects of COVID.  The best way to get those antibodies is through a vaccination.”

Vickers first revealed that he had contracted COVID-19 to a crowd gathered for the Cedar Area Interfaith Alliance community prayer event Thursday night at Main Street Park. 

While most locals were celebrating the end of summer on Labor Day, Vickers, who is a pharmacist and owns several pharmacies in the Cedar City area, received the news that he had tested positive with COVID-19 and spent the next week recovering at home. He told St. George News that he was “tired and rundown but overall, not too bad.”

“The following week, I was really over COVID,” he said.  

State Sen. Evan Vickers, R-Cedar City, speaks at a Cedar Area Interfaith Alliance community prayer gathering at Main Street Park hooked up to oxygen while recovering from COVID-19, Cedar City, Utah, Sept. 23, 2021 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News / Cedar City News

Vickers said he was not hospitalized for COVID-19 but for blood clots that he said were a complication from the virus. On Sept. 17, he went to the emergency room of Cedar City Hospital. He wouldn’t leave the hospital for three days.

“The best way I can clarify is as my admitting physician said: ‘We aren’t treating you for COVID; we are treating you for blood clots.’”

Vickers told St. George News he will need to be on oxygen for a while.

“Then I can get back to normal,” he said. “The good news is that there is no long-term damage to my lungs.”

The Mayo Clinic says that even after people feel they have recovered, even those who have had a mild case of COVID-19 can later experience symptoms after that initial recovery. 

Among those symptoms are blood clots, according to the National Institutes of Health, which says clotting may be triggered by the high levels of inflammation caused by the COVID-19 infection. These clots are not only showing up in those who are old but in children and teens who have had COVID-19 with the resulting disease known as multisystem inflammatory syndrome (MIS-C).

Other ailments, such as pneumonia, heart damage and stroke, can also arise from contracting COVID-19, as the disease effects the lungs, heart and brain. 

Besides expressing gratitude for receiving the vaccine, Vickers also said he was struck by the respect, concern and kindness of the Cedar City Hospital staff, and he acknowledged that their job lately may be tougher than that of any politician.  

Undated photo of a caregivers working with a patient at Cedar City Hospital, Cedar City, Utah | Photo courtesy of Cedar City Hospital, St. George News / Cedar City News

“The public needs to understand the pressure these caregivers are facing,” he said. “There are a lot of people in the hospital right now being treated for COVID, most of which are unvaccinated. These caregivers are working miracles and doing everything they can to help people recover from and thrive after COVID. Their morale is low due to the pressures they are facing.”

According to the Utah Department of Health as of Friday, Vickers’ hometown of Cedar City has the second-lowest percentage of residents who are fully vaccinated in Southern Utah at 36.5%. Only the Hurricane/LaVerkin area is lower at 35.1%.

Cedar City also has reported the highest rate of COVID-19 infection in the last two weeks in Southern Utah and fourth-highest in the state. At least 1 of every 100 Cedar City residents is currently infected with COVID-19. 

COVID-19 information resources

St. George News has made every effort to ensure the information in this story is accurate at the time it was written. However, as the situation and science surrounding the coronavirus continues to evolve, it’s possible that some data has changed.

Check the resources below for up-to-date information and resources.

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2021, all rights reserved.

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