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Utah family shares regret over not getting COVID-19 vaccine because of 'fear and lies'

Mindy Greene and her husband Russell Greene, who is in a hospital ICU battling COVID-19. She regrets her decision to not have her family vaccinated. (Mindy Greene via KSL-TV)



Estimated read time: 4-5 minutes

PROVO — A Utah County woman was convinced her faith-based decision to keep her family of six unvaccinated was right, but that feeling didn't last long after her husband contracted a severe case of COVID-19. Now, he's fighting for his life in the hospital.

Months ago, Mindy Greene's husband, Russell, told her to decide what the family should do: vaccine or no vaccine.

She prayed about it and said she went forward with her answer: The family would be fine without it.

She felt good about it. Even when her two sons came home from summer camp with the delta variant, she still felt like she had made the right decision.

"Even four or five days into it, I texted one of my friends. I'm like, 'This ain't bad,'" Mindy Greene told KSL-TV.

That feeling didn't last.

"Then, my husband got it," said Mindy Greene.

That's when everything changed. Within four days, Russell Greene was in the ICU.

That was July 1. He hasn't been home since.

"When you come in, we call it COVID Row," described Mindy Greene. "Right now, we're one of the lucky ones because my husband is still alive."

She shared her story because she said she knows there are so many others just like her who have been deceived by bad information from so-called experts online.

"I do believe it's really hard to get an answer when the noise around you is so loud," she said.

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Mindy Greene said she regrets that decision every minute of every day as she watches her once strong, healthy, outgoing 42-year-old husband fight for his life.

"My husband was perfectly healthy," she said with an exhausted look on her face.

She's spent every day of the last six weeks by her husband's side.

Russell Greene has six chest tubes, his lungs have holes where they've collapsed, and just Wednesday, he had another major surgery. A surgery, she said, doctors informed her afterward, they were surprised he survived.

And while she's been filled with regret, when they arrived at their first ICU in early July, she was mad.

Russell had some strong words for her.

"My husband told me, 'You need to have faith that Jesus Christ still lives and miracles still happen or I won't make it out alive,'" said Mindy Greene.


My husband told me, 'You need to have faith that Jesus Christ still lives and miracles still happen or I won't make it out alive.'

–Mindy Greene


So, she begrudgingly pushed forward with faith.

"I can tell you now, he was right that day," she said.

Over the past several weeks, Mindy Greene has come forward on social media, sharing her message of regret.

The New York Times flew to Utah to interview her.

She believes her husband knew far more than she did.

That article had more than a million views, and Mindy Greene's inbox has been flooded with messages of hope and prayer, which have buoyed her up and built her faith.

"I want people to know, that even in hard times, Christ lives, that miracles still happen, and that he's still trying to protect us and he's there to lift people that need to be lifted," she said.

If she had to do it all over again, Mindy Greene said she would get her family vaccinated, and she hopes others will look to credible sources, like trusted doctors and healthcare workers.

She believes people will change their anti-vaccine minds when they have accurate information.

If her faith was shaken, that moment is over as, she said, she sees daily miracles in her husband's treatment.

"I still have those moments where I know he's gonna be OK," she said.

Her advice to those still vaccine-resistant isn't overbearing or judgmental.

"Educate yourself with facts and then make the decision. Include the Lord in that process and he will help guide you," she said. "But, you cannot make an educated decision on fear and lies."

The doctor treating Russell Greene believes he will pull through, but it's still going to be a monthslong recovery.

A GoFundMe* account has been set up to help cover the family's medical bills.


*Disclaimer: KSL.com has not verified the accuracy of the information provided with respect to the account nor does KSL.com assure that the monies deposited will be applied for the benefit of the persons named as beneficiaries. If you are considering a deposit or donation you should consult your own advisers and otherwise proceed at your own risk.

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Debbie Worthen

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