EUCLID, Ohio — When looking at the Ohio Department of Health’s COVID-19 dashboard, 63-year-old Tommy Daniels of Euclid looks back at December 4 as the day he became part of the statistic.
He was among the more than 250 new people who were hospitalized with COVID-19 each day during that week in Ohio.
“I felt bad,” he recalled. “My whole body was down. I had trouble eating, smelling food and tasting it. I asked my doctor if I was going to die and he said he didn’t know. So I broke down crying and I cried and I prayed.”
For Daniels, his stay at the Cleveland Clinic only lasted two days, which he and his doctor credit to getting the COVID-19 vaccine in March.
“I worry about what could’ve happened to Tommy had he not had the vaccine,” said Dr. Rachel Taliercio with the Cleveland Clinic’s Respiratory Institute. “It was critical to him not only surviving the illness, but he survived COVID-19 and had a mild disease.”
Daniels has struggled with COPD, a lung disease that runs in his family, for years. It forces him to carry around an oxygen machine.
“Tommy has severe COPD, is dependent on oxygen, and takes a lot of medications to keep his condition under control,” Dr. Taliercio said.
Over the years, Daniels told News 5 he ended up needing to take three trips to intensive care because of COPD, which was part of the reason why he decided to get the COVID-19 vaccine.
Daniels is scheduled to receive his COVID-19 booster shot on Friday.
“Go get those shots,” he said. “I thank God for helping me stay alive. I still have trouble breathing but I am not going to give up though.”
Visit our Vaccinating Ohio page for the latest updates on Ohio's vaccination program, including links to sign up for a vaccine appointment, a map of nearby vaccination sites, a detailed breakdown of the state's current vaccine phase, and continuing local coverage of COVID-19 vaccines in Northeast Ohio.
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