By CBSLA Staff

BALDWIN PARK (CBSLA) – A city councilman, who along with some members of his family was vaccine hesitant, wants to prevent other families from going through the same ordeal he and his family have had to endure.

A father of three, 42-year-old Antonio Damian, Baldwin Park Councilman Daniel Damian’s brother, lost his battle with the coronavirus last month. He contracted the virus over the Fourth of July holiday and was not vaccinated.

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“Trying to listen to him speak and gasping for air, it was just heartbreaking to see,” the councilman said of his brother.

The council member told CBSLA that his brother and other family members had been hesitant about getting the vaccine.

“We were kind of just waiting to see if there was anymore research done on it. Waiting was the worst thing we could’ve done,” he said.

Their mother and aunt, both 81-years-old, both had COVID at the time were vaccinated and survived the virus. One had received a single vaccine dose in June and recovered after a few days of treatment at Baldwin Park Kaiser Permanente Medical Center, and the other was fully vaccinated.

“For me, that was a big eye opener. Whoa, I would rather risk any side effects, if any, the vaccine would have than for us to catch this virus and not have a chance to survive it,” the Baldwin Park Councilman said.

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His brother is survived by his wife and three children, one of whom is just 6-years-old.

“It’s a pain obviously we don’t want any family to go through. Don’t let this happen to your family. Get vaccinated,” he said.

Doctors say that with the Delta variant causing a spike in COVID cases, stories like Antonio Damian’s are becoming more common.

“Younger people who primarily aren’t vaccinated for one reason or another and they seem to be getting, unfortunately, quite sick, sicker than they did earlier in the pandemic,” Dr. David Bronstein, an infectious disease specialist at Kaiser Permanente, said.

Bronstein added that it’s not just young people with preexisting conditions that are going into intensive care units or dying. Some are those that appear young and healthy, but most are unvaccinated.

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