COLUMBIA, Mo. (KOMU/CNN) – A Missouri woman is encouraging people to get the COVID-19 vaccine after she lost two family members who chose not to get vaccinated.

Marlene Thomas’ youngest sister and her brother’s wife died of the coronavirus. The Columbia resident has two family members in serious condition and at least six are quarantining.

"None of them had gotten vaccinated," she said. 

Thomas said she tried months ago to encourage her sister to get the vaccine.

"She didn't know what the long-term effects of the vaccine would be. Well, COVID was her long term and she's gone, and I may lose her daughter and husband,” said Thomas.

Thomas said her niece was giving her updates, until one day she didn’t pick up. "It was on a Friday when I called her,” recalled Thomas. "Her daughter and husband and all of their children at home, got it."

Thomas said the most recent update on the condition of her niece and husband wasn’t good. “He was not getting along; he was very bad Saturday and they had called family in.”

Despite the tragedy, Thomas knows one thing is important. She is urging people to take the pandemic and vaccinations seriously because if they don’t “it could mean death.”

Thomas said she was vaccinated before any of this happened. "I'd already heard how many people were dying from COVID and I didn't want to die.”

Thomas said the older children are now taking care of the younger ones while their parents are fighting the virus in hospitals.

Copyright 2021 KMOV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved

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