Unvaccinated COVID-19 survivor urges others to take virus seriously

Antwaun Dunnigan
Posted at 6:34 PM, Aug 10, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-10 19:34:01-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo.  — A Kansas City man said he regrets not getting vaccinated after he contracted COVID-19 and ended up in the hospital.

At first, 39-year-old Antwaun Dunnigan thought he had a cold in July.

"Then as time went on I started feeling more weaker, I wasn't able to stand and I started getting dizzy," Dunnigan said.

His symptoms quickly worsened and he began having trouble breathing. His wife called 9-1-1 and Dunnigan was taken to Research Medical Center.

He was diagnosed with COVID-19 and pneumonia and admitted to the ICU.

Dunnigan said the scariest part of the experience was realizing his body wasn't getting enough oxygen.

"That’s a scary thing because I’m like, I’m breathing, my body is doing what it should to breathe back-and-forth, but my oxygen levels are still dropping," Dunnigan said.

Dr. David McKinsey, infectious disease specialist, said some patients with COVID require supplemental oxygen for very long periods of time.

“We’ve seen patients experiencing the situation Mr. Dunnigan was in, as having the potential for a very long recovery time to regain strength and conditioning, and to feel well enough to return to work. It’s a miracle he was discharged only five days after being admitted," McKinsey said.

Dunnigan is now on the road to recovery. He said he'll be getting a vaccine as soon as he can.

"I’m not just doing it for myself. The same thing with the mask situation — you’re just not wearing a mask for yourself, you’re wearing a mask for other people," Dunnigan said.

Dr. Vivek Murthy, U.S. Surgeon General, tells KSHB 41 News he is encouraging people to talk to their family and friends about getting vaccinated if they have not done so yet.

"It's really the most important step that we can take to ultimately protecting ourselves and our families, and [the delta variant] is really making that all the more urgent," Murthy said.

Dunnigan said he hopes his story will show others COVID-19 is real and relentless.

"I’m excited, I’m elated about it that I was able to go home, I was able to be with my family and I just think God for all he has done," Dunnigan said.