Friends and family are mourning loss of a 36-year-old Southwest Airlines flight attendant who died from COVID-19.
Maurice “Reggie” Shepperton spent 30 days in a Las Vegas ICU before succumbing to the coronavirus “Delta variant”.
His mother, Dawn Shepperson, told USA TODAY that her son was “fully vaccinated” when he died Tuesday, Aug. 10.
Dawn said he drove himself to a Las Vegas hospital after experiencing breathing difficulties. He spent the next several weeks on a ventilator before passing away.
“It hurt me so bad because it was just so quick. I didn’t have time to really even acknowledge what is going on. This is mind-blowing. It’s not real. It’s not real. It’s not real.”
In June, Shepperson took his mother with him on a work trip to Hawaii. Dawn said he tested positive for Covid-19 in July.
The outgoing flight attendant was nicknamed “Skittles” because of the vibrant colored pants he loved to wear.
Shepperson, a native New Yorker based in Las Vegas, took all precautions to protect himself from the virus.
He wore a face mask, washed his hands frequently, and wiped down all surfaces in hotel rooms, said Marcia Hildreth, a Southwest flight attendant who was Shepperson’s best friend.
Hildreth created a GoFundMe to raise funds for his funeral expenses. Over $13,700 has been raised as of Sunday, Aug. 15.
Southwest Airlines is one of 3 major airlines that do not require mandatory vaccines for employees.
However, friends say Shepperson took the shots because he had underlying medical conditions that made him high-risk if he contracted the virus.
According to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) co-managed by the CDC, at least 125,000 fully vaccinated people have tested positive for Covid-19. Over 12,000 deaths have been reported.
The Association of Flight Attendants (CWA) estimates that 4,000 flight attendants in the U.S. tested positive for the coronavirus and 20 have died.