LAS VEGAS - Southwest Airlines is mourning the loss of Maurice Reggie Shepperson, a flight attendant who died this week after a battle with COVID-19.
"We are heartbroken over the loss; the Southwest Family is supporting each other, and our Employee’s family, during this difficult time. Out of respect for Reggie's family, we do not have additional details to share," the airline said in a statement.
His mother, Dawn Shepperson, told USA Today her son had been fully vaccinated.
A Boeing 737 MAX airliner with Southwest Airlines markings is pictured at the Boeing Factory in Renton, Washington on November 18, 2020. - US regulators on November 18 cleared the Boeing 737 MAX to return to the skies, ending its 20-month grounding a
"It hurt me so bad because it was just so quick," Shepperson told the outlet. "I didn't have time to really even acknowledge what is going on. This is mind-blowing. It's not real. It's not real. It's not real."
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) considers a person fully vaccinated 14 days after they’ve received their final dose of an FDA-authorized vaccine.
The vaccines are highly effective at preventing infections, but breakthrough cases are still possible. And the shots are even more effective at preventing serious illness and death, making Shepperson’s death among the rarest cases.
Marcia Hildreth, a close friend and coworker of Shepperson, told USA Today he took every precaution. He wore a mask, washed his hands, sanitized surfaces and wiped down every hotel room he stayed in. But she said he tested positive anyway in early July.
Doctors placed Shepperson on a ventilator before he passed away on Tuesday.
This story was reported from Atlanta.