Riley doctor loses mother to COVID-19 days before second dose of vaccine


INDIANAPOLIS– A doctor at Riley Hospital is speaking out about the importance of following guidelines until fully vaccinated after losing her mother to COVID-19 just days before receiving her second dose.

69-year-old Gwen Dubay had the kind of smile that lit up a room.

“She was just one of those people who was interested in everything and interested in the lives of people around her,” said Dubay’s daughter, Dr. Tara Holloran.

Dr. Holloran, a physician at Riley Children’s Hospital, said she was relieved when her mom became eligible for the vaccine.

“She got her first vaccine and did well,” Dr. Holloran said. “In the next few days, we don’t know where or when, she got exposed to COVID-19 and got sick.”

Dubay told her daughter not to worry.

“She wasn’t having any breathing trouble, just felt kind of run down,” Dr. Holloran said.

After a few days, Dr. Holloran grew concerned as her mother’s health deteriorated.

Within five days of contracting COVID-19, Gwen was gone.

“Though she was 69, she was pretty active,” Dr. Holloran said. “The fact that it killed her has been pretty eye opening for me.”

Dr. Holloran is urging Hoosiers to follow guidelines while they wait to be fully vaccinated.

“A lot of people get their first dose, and you feel some sense of safety with that,” Dr. Holloran said.

She says it takes two weeks after the second dose to reach full immunity.

“She got unlucky and got exposed in between doses,” Dr. Holloran said about her mother. “Had she gotten exposed just a few weeks later, I think her course could have been very different.”

Dr. Holloran says vaccination is the best way to protect yourself against COVID-19, in addition to hand washing and social distancing.

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