Father looking for every option to vaccinate son with muscular dystrophy

Reporter: Val Simpson Writer: Jack Lowenstein
Published: Updated:
(Center) Sandro Rodriguez with his two sons (left) Alex and (right) Geraldo. Credit: Shared with WINK News.

A father is doing all he can to keep his son alive. While most of the coronavirus vaccines have gone to those over 65 and health care workers, a dad says his son who has muscular dystrophy needs to be protected too.

Sandro Rodriguez is doing everything he can to prevent his son from contracting COVID-19. Rodriguez is an on-air personality for 97.7 Latino in Southwest Florida, a WINK News Spanish-language sister radio station.

Through smiles and laughter, sometimes it’s hard to realize the people around us are struggling because of the pandemic.

You’d never know Sandro is a dad fighting for his son’s life. Behind the upbeat persona that touches listeners every day, you can’t hear the sound of Sandro Rodriguez’s suffering.

“It doesn’t matter how happy we are, how happy we show ourselves, because it’s part of our jobs to make people happy,” Rodriguez said. “But in here, we’re just broken apart like everybody else.”

Rodriguez is desperately looking for a way to get the COVID-19 vaccine for his son, Alex.

“Trying to get into the Publix website, trying to get here, trying to get there,” Rodriguez said. “We haven’t been able to do anything.”

(Center) Sandro Rodriguez with his two sons (left) Alex and (right) Geraldo. Credit: Shared with WINK News.

Alex has muscular dystrophy, known as MD. It’s a congenital disease that damages and weakens the muscles over time.

“He was born with a disease,” Rodriguez said. “After 3 years old, he started declining. They gave him about 6 years to live.”

But Alex is a fighter, who has already defied the odds. He turns 30 this year.

This week, Lee Health received 1,000 more vaccines to be administered to people under 65 considered vulnerable patients. The health system will prioritize who gets the shot first.

But Alex isn’t a Lee Health patient.

The CDC doesn’t list muscular dystrophy as a medical condition made more dangerous by COVID-19, but don’t say that to this dad.

“He is afraid daily. He’s always telling me, ‘Papi, am I going to die?’ or, ‘Am I going to get sick? The nurses are coming in. They don’t have the vaccine yet,’” Rodriguez said.

Rodriguez is diabetic himself, and hopes he’ll also be able to get a vaccine soon, so he doesn’t expose his son to COVID-19.

He said his son’s home nurses haven’t been able to get the vaccine yet either.

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