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Teen on ventilator after getting COVID-19 days before planned vaccination

Published: Jul. 27, 2021 at 4:26 AM CDT
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FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (WSVN) - A 15-year-old from South Florida is fighting for her life after contracting COVID-19. Her family says it happened just days before she planned to get the vaccine in preparation for the school year.

Paulina Velasquez, 15, remained on a ventilator in the intensive care unit at Broward Health Medical Center, as of Monday evening. Just a week and a half prior, she was a happy, healthy teenager looking forward to her sophomore year of high school.

“She’s intubated. She’s in an induced coma,” said Paulina’s mother, Agnes Velasquez, who has also tested positive for COVID-19. “Every day is harder and harder, sitting at the bedside…holding her hand.”

Paulina Velasquez, 15, is on a ventilator after contracting COVID-19. Just a week and a half...
Paulina Velasquez, 15, is on a ventilator after contracting COVID-19. Just a week and a half ago, she was a happy, healthy teenager looking forward to her sophomore year of high school.(Source: GoFundMe)

The teenager planned to get the COVID-19 vaccine this week, but she never got the chance.

“Nine days ago, she started off with she had trouble breathing. She started kind of getting tired. She was telling my mom that she’s tired and can’t walk,” said Paulina’s brother, Tomas Velasquez.

Her family says she was mindful of the virus and always wore her mask but contracted it anyway.

“My sister always took precautions. It’s actually really shocking to us,” Tomas Velasquez said.

The family was told Paulina Velasquez has COVID-19 and pneumonia, and days later, she was intubated. Now that she’s on a ventilator, hospital staff moves the position of her body every 12 hours.

Despite her own positive test and even showing some symptoms, Paulina’s mother hasn’t left her daughter’s side.

“I do sit next to her bed and pray for her health… asking God for a miracle, to heal her and bring her back to me as soon as possible,” she said.

Paulina’s brother and father can’t be in her hospital room, but they’re waiting for good news and warning others to be careful.

“This virus is serious. A lot of people don’t believe it’s serious, but my sister was a perfectly healthy 15-year-old,” Tomas Velasquez said.

The family has started a GoFundMe campaign for those who would like to help with medical expenses. It has raised more than $10,000. They are also asking for the public’s prayers.

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