Last month, Pastor Danny Reeves was fighting for his life in the intensive care unit at Dallas’ Baylor University Medical Center. He had COVID-19, and he wasn’t vaccinated.
Now, the senior pastor at First Baptist Corsicana in north central Texas regrets not getting the shot earlier, and he plans to tell his congregants his story on Sunday when he returns to the pulpit.
“I was falsely and erroneously overconfident,” Reeves told NPR’s Debbie Elliott on Morning Edition.
Reeves says he isn’t against vaccines, and he encouraged certain people in his community — mostly older adults — to get vaccinated before he contracted the coronavirus. But he thought since he’s in his 40s and generally healthy, getting the virus wouldn’t be a big deal.
“Unfortunately that was the attitude that I had: That if I did get it, I thought it would just be a nothing issue,” he says. “And in that I was deeply, deeply wrong.”
Reeves describes his experience at the hospital as “harrowing.” At one point during his two-night stay in the ICU, a doctor told him he might die.
Weeks later, Reeves is still recovering.
“It ravaged my healthy body,” he said. “There’s no doubt.”
COVID-19 cases are surging across north Texas, and projections indicate they may soon reach last winter’s peak.
Of his first service back, Reeves says, “We’re going to praise God together for his rescue. I’m going to lay out lessons that I’ve learned. … And certainly I’m going to talk straight to our people about who we can and should be as God’s people and what it really means to love our neighbor.”
Reeves says he plans to get vaccinated once his doctor tells him it’s safe to do so.
This story originally appeared on the Morning Edition live blog.