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Before Dying, An Unvaccinated TikTok User Begged Others Not to Repeat Her Mistake

Megan Alexandra Blankenbiller became sick before she was able to get the COVID-19 vaccine. She spent her final days in the hospital trying to help others avoid the same mistake.
Megan Alexandra Blankenbiller became sick before she was able to get the COVID-19 vaccine. She spent her final days in the hospital trying to help others avoid the same mistake.

"I shouldn't have waited."

In the final video posted on her TikTok account, Megan Alexandra Blankenbiller pleaded with her followers not to make the same mistake she did — waiting to get the COVID-19 vaccine — that eventually cost her her life.

Blankenbiller, or @atasteofalex on TikTok, died of COVID-19 last month after documenting her journey with the virus through a series of short videos. She first announced that she'd gotten COVID-19 on Aug. 13 with a video of herself in the hospital. In the caption, she urged others: "DO NOT WAIT TO GET VACCINATED! Go now!!"

It was a sentiment that she echoed in her next three videos.

In one video, she dispelled the misconception that those who are vaccinated cannot get COVID-19 and explained that it helps your body withstand the virus if you do get it. In her next, she said she'd been afraid to get the vaccine. She also said that since she'd been at the hospital, she'd been hearing the "moans and the screams of people in pain" — the grief of those who had likely lost their loved ones.

In her final video, filmed in a hospital bed as the others had been, she admitted that it was getting harder to talk but shared her own story: She was not against vaccines but had been taking time to research and wanted to get vaccinated at the same time as her family — a decision she said she came to regret.

"I do think it was a mistake. I shouldn't have waited," she said. "If you are even 70% sure that you want the vaccine, go get it. Don't wait. Go get it because hopefully if you get it, then you won't end up in the hospital like me, OK?"

Blankenbiller died nine days after her last video was posted Aug. 15, CNN reported. She was 31. Before her death, she'd made appointments to get vaccinated with her mother and sisters, but she became sick before she was able to get the vaccine, according to WebMD.

Blankenbiller's story is similar to many that have been shared in recent months of those who did not get vaccinated but, after contracting COVID-19, wished they had. Some of those people have begun encouraging others to get the shot. Health officials have said they hope these stories will raise vaccination rates and save lives.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.