Jacksonville woman’s final TikTok video before death was a plea for vaccinations

Author: Li Cohen / CBS
Published: Updated:
Megan Alexandra Blankenbiller in the hospital. Screenshot from TikTok.

Struggling to breathe and visibly exhausted lying in a hospital bed, Megan Alexandra Blankenbiller pleaded with her followers in her final TikTok video last month to get vaccinated. She had not — and nine days after posting the final video, she died.

“I don’t have a lot of energy for talking,” Blankenbiller, who went by Alex, said in the final video, posted on Aug. 15. “… I did not get vaccinated. I’m not anti-vax, I was just trying to do my research. I was scared.”

Blankenbiller, who lived in Jacksonville, said she waited to get vaccinated because she wanted her and her family to all get vaccinated at the same time. That decision, she said, “was a mistake.”

“I shouldn’t have waited,” she said in the video, which has been viewed nearly 900,000 times. “If you are even 70% sure that you want the vaccine, go get it. Don’t wait. Go get it, because hopefully if you get it, you won’t end up in the hospital like me.”

@atasteofalex**Also, Tonic Water. Nasty stuff but good for you!! Stay safe out there guys!♬ original sound – It’s Alex, Betch. 💋

Blankenbiller was hospitalized on the morning of August 13, just two days before her final video. On that day, she posted a TikTok of her hooked up to monitors. Screaming could be heard in the background.

A day later, from the hospital bed, she urged her followers to “just take care of you” and not delay getting the vaccine because of other people.

“All I’ve been hearing are the moans and screams of people in pain,” she said. “People I’m assuming that have lost people that they love.”

Exactly one week after Blankenbiller went to the hospital, her younger sister wrote on Facebook that she was in “critical” condition and had been placed on a ventilator. She died the next day, according to her family.

Blankenbiller’s sister, Cristina Blankenbiller, told WebMD their family had finally agreed to get vaccinated but shortly before their appointments, they all got sick.

A friend of Blankenbiller’s posted on Facebook that she was “one of the kindest people” the friend had worked with. The two were part of the Jax Treblemakers, an A capella group in Jacksonville.

“As soon as she walked into a rehearsal, that rehearsal became a party,” her friend wrote. “She was only 31 and she died because of Covid. 31. She spent her last few days pleading with people to get the vaccine from a hospital bed. I am so tired of losing people to this damned virus.”

Florida has the highest number of coronavirus cases in the U.S., with more than 583,000 in the past 28 days alone, according to Johns Hopkins University. Duval County, where Jacksonville is located, is among the top 10 counties in the state for the number of cases.

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