Winter Park sister, brother get vaccine a year after father dies from COVID-19

Briana Lawton says she was skeptical at first, made the decision to get the shot after research

WINTER PARK, Fla. – Briana Lawton’s father Marvin, died of COVID-19 more than a year ago at the age of 60. His smile resonates energy in photos posted on the walls of her home.

“He was a faithful man, loved God and loved his family more than anything,” Lawton said.

Marvin was on life support with COVID-19 and passed away on April 12, 2020.

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“After losing my dad I took a step back from everything COVID-related. I wanted nothing to do with it for a little while. I wasn’t keeping up on the research on the vaccine and didn’t know much about it, so I didn’t take it,” Lawton said.

As a nurse, Lawton was part of one of the first groups eligible to get the vaccine. Having lost a loved one to the virus, Lawton said she felt pressured by friends to get the shot.

“People who knew I was a nurse was asking ‘why haven’t you gotten yours yet? You’re a nurse,’” Lawton said. “I was just very undecided, I felt uneasy and for me personally losing my dad, it was bittersweet. I felt guilty about getting it when he couldn’t.”

Lawton said at first, she was also skeptical about how fast some of the vaccines were produced.

“Once I got the research and I saw the process that they went through and that they had already started working on the vaccine early on and doing trials as the pandemic spread, it made sense how it came out so fast and I felt comfortable,” Lawton said.

Lawton said she recently planned to get the COVID shot next week. After the interview with News 6, she showed up at the station with her brother, Josh, to get the shot at the mobile Walk On Clinic. The Walk On Clinic offered vaccines as part of News 6′s Vaccination Day.

Here is why she changed her mind.

“I did it for my dad. For the rest of the community, to keep everyone safe,” Lawton said.

Lawton’s extended family is planning to get together for a celebration in memory of Marvin this summer.

As for others who are pressuring their friends or family to get the vaccine, Briana said it’s important to be compassionate and supportive.

“You never know what someone is going through whether it’s health issues or they lost a loved one to COVID-19. Help them find reliable information and research,” Lawton said. “If you sent the information and they don’t want to do it, at the end of the day, it’s their choice and their body. Be considerate and supportive.”


About the Author:

Crystal Moyer is a morning news anchor who joined the News 6 team in 2020.