Man who declined COVID-19 vaccine now advocates for it after undergoing double lung transplant


  • Joshua Garza, 43, of Sugarland, Texas was a COVID-19 and double lung transplant survivor who now advocates COVID-19 vaccine.
  • He regretted declining to get the shots which resulted in him getting the virus in January.
  • He spent four months in the hospital before regaining his health.

After declining a COVID-19 vaccine and eventually contracting the virus in January, Joshua Garza is now encouraging unvaccinated people to get the shots.

Garza has been speaking up in public to get the COVID-19 vaccine following his critical condition from getting the disease. “COVID ended up attacking my lungs,” The 43-year-old man from Sugarland, Texas told ABC News.

Garza’s health quickly worsened after testing positive for the virus in late January. He was brought to Houston Methodist hospital on February 2 and was administered with an extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) machine to sustain his breathing.

“It was quick, it was within three weeks, the lungs were already shot,” Garza shared. “They’re telling you your lungs are failing, so you don’t know if you’re going to go to bed tonight and wake up tomorrow.”

Given his crucial condition, he needed to undergo a lung transplant operation. On April 13, the surgery went well and he spent weeks recuperating and regaining his health while being on life support for two months.

On May 27, he officially got out of the health facility. Currently, the Texan man is sharing what he had been through in a bid to prevent other people from suffering and potential passing.

“If I knew what I know now,” he said, “I would have definitely gone through with the vaccination.”

According to Dr. Howard Huang, Houston Methodist’s medical director of lung transplantation and one of the doctors who took care of Garza, lung transplant is a rare approach for COVID-19 patients.

“Mr. Garza is an extreme example of somebody who had complete lung failure, and there was really no other way out in the immediate future other than transplant,” he told ABC News.

Amid the surge of COVID-19 hospitalization at the time, Huang said that it was a miracle that Garza was able to secure an ECMO machine and a lung donor.

“Everything just lined up in his favor,” the doctor said.

Huang also shared that at least eight double lung transplants had been performed on COVID-19 patients at Houston Methodist, noting that there are still waiting patients who are currently on life support.

“These people are still fighting for their lives,” he said. Huang believed that Garza would have not “gotten to this point” if he did not decline the COVID-19 vaccine weeks before he got the virus. “The data that’s now coming out suggests that the vaccines are very good at preventing severe illness,” he said. “Even if he had ended up in a hospital, maybe it wouldn’t have progressed all the way to complete lung failure that couldn’t be salvaged without a lung transplant.”

Source: Yahoo News

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