An Idaho Republican State Representative whose unvaccinated mother died from a severe COVID-19 infection blasted anti-vaxxers within the GOP in a phone interview with The Idaho Statesman that was published on Wednesday.
Chaney first publicly shared his mother’s passing in a Twitter post on Monday evening.
“My mother passed away last Monday from COVID-19 in the ICU. Being unvaccinated was her choice. But, those making that choice don’t just put themselves at risk, they strain their families & place non-COVID patients at risk by diverting care. Please get vaccinated,” he wrote.
My mother passed away last Monday from #COVID19 in the ICU. Being #Unvaccinated was her choice. But, those making that choice don’t just put themselves at risk, they strain their families & place non-COVID patients at risk by diverting care. Please get #vaccinated #idleg #idpol https://t.co/Bef88Gh4R5
— Rep. Greg Chaney (@gregchaneyidaho) September 27, 2021
Speaking to the Statesman, Chaney – who represents the Boise suburb of Caldwell in Idaho’s 10th District – recalled the virus’s rapid and merciless theft of his 74-year-old mother Judy Teter-Page’s life after his entire family became infected two weeks ago.
“On Sept. 20, Rep. Greg Chaney found himself putting on a gown, gloves, and face mask as quickly as he could. He was going to visit his mother’s hospital room. Fifteen minutes later, she died of COVID-19. She had chosen not to get vaccinated. Those two things — his mother’s death and his mother’s choice — have been difficult to reconcile.” the paper wrote.
“Acknowledging that what happened was a product of Mom’s choice kind of throws a strange wrinkle in the grieving process, because she didn’t exactly choose to die. But she chose, based on her age and physical condition, that she was highly likely to end up there if she got COVID. It’s a hard thing to wrap your brain around,” Chaney said.
“On Sept. 20, Chaney, an attorney, was tied up in court all day. His family kept him updated through text messages. At 3 p.m., he got a text saying Teter-Page said she was feeling better. At 4:45 p.m., the doctor wanted to speak to the family. An hour later, Chaney got a text from his sister saying his mother didn’t have much time left. At 7:15 p.m., Chaney made it to the hospital. By 7:30 p.m., Teter-Page was gone,” according to Chaney’s account.
“It was just that quick,” he said.
“Mom had worked at the Old Mercy Medical Center as a chaplain,” Chaney continued. “She worked in a doctor’s office. She wasn’t anti-medicine. She wasn’t gullible. She had two post-secondary degrees. She was an intelligent person. She was, however, a very skeptical person.”
He blamed vaccine misinformation for Teter-Page’s preventable death.
“Frankly, there’s some anger,” Chaney said. “I think there are people in our political realm … who are essentially killing people with misinformation. But they’ll get away with it, because you can never really tell at what point somebody was convinced of a lie. Was it the fifth time it was repeated? Was it the 50th time? Was it the 500th time? Nobody really knows. But this politically-motivated misinformation campaign that’s out there is deadly.”
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Brandon is a political writer for the Hill Reporter specializing in current events, breaking news, and scientific discovery. Brandon holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Indiana University. He lives in New York City.