UF Health patient delayed COVID-19 vaccine for noble reason, now she’s in hospital

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – News4Jax visited the COVID-19 ward at UF Health Jacksonville on Friday and met Maria Omerkov, one of many patients in the Springfield facility.

Omerkov said she was not vaccinated because she wanted to give others a chance to get the shots first.

“I always mask up and I only go out like once a month,” Omerkov said. “I figure I can make (it available to) other people who come in a lot of contact. I thought it was important for them to get it before me.”

But then, she said, she became exposed to the virus from her son, who had contact with a woman who actually died from COVID-19.

“He didn’t know she had COVID, so he slept over at my house, and he must have brought it to me,” she said.

So now Omerkov has a message for those who are avoiding the shot -- even with good intentions: “I tell them to get it,” she said.

Omerkov said she is doing better, and the staff is keeping close tabs on her condition.

She hopes to be out of the hospital soon with the help of others.

“I have family all over the world praying for me,” Omerkov said.

About the Author:

Jim Piggott is the reporter to count on when it comes to city government and how it will affect the community.