Save the Grief—Get the Vaccine!


By Lisa Mitchell-Bennett

Most of Yvette Vela’s Brownsville family was struck with the COVID-19 virus in Summer of 2020 early in the pandemic. Young and old fell very ill.

“After weeks of struggle, on June 25th 2020, we lost my dad to the virus. He suffered greatly in the hospital and we suffered along with him during his rollercoaster in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU). He was alone because we couldn’t be with him in person. We were at home worrying terribly about him! Anyone who tries to politicize or pretend this virus is not horrible does not know what my family and so many others have suffered.”

Vela is adamant that the vaccine could have saved her father’s life.

“If we would have had the option of a vaccine and could have prevented the trauma and loss we experienced back in 2020, you bet we would have been first in line to get the shot. Those of us who survived have all taken advantage of the vaccine. Our community is so fortunate that we now have a good supply of vaccine and through the city, the county and some pharmacies and even schools and churches are now offering. If you can save a life, including your own, why would you not do it?”

“I lost one of the most important people in my life, my own dad, to this deadly pandemic. My dad was one of my best friends. He wasn’t just another “COVID statistic”, he was everything to me! He was still a young and vibrant person whose life ended far too soon due to this virus.

Vela shared that she has many wonderful memories of her dad.

“My dad’s name was Jose Vela, but everyone called him ‘JV’ for short. My love of good food and drink came from him. Any time there was a new restaurant or bar opening up in town I could always count on him to join me for a meal and drinks. My father really appreciated a good meal, so he would spare no expense. It was always about the experience. He had traveled the world as a sailor for the US Navy, and he loved sharing his food stories from his travels. He always encouraged me to try new dishes when I traveled–to be a curious eater. When I was 27, I spent some time in Argentina and I recall being served blood sausage at a restaurant we visited. Utterly disgusted at the idea of eating coagulated blood sausage, known to them as “morciall”, I knew I had to at least try it otherwise JV would be disappointed.”

Vela shares that what she will miss most is not being able to bake for her dad on special occasions.

“Every year, I made him extravagant meals for Father’s Day. They always included a chocolate cake. He was the biggest fan of my cooking. He really always had my back!”

Vela says she still can’t believe he is gone and she is dreading Father’s Day this year.

“I find it incredibly selfish that some people aren’t willing to get the COVID-19 vaccine. In addition to saving yourself from a potentially deadly virus, you can literally save other people’s

lives. How can the little worry about the small side effects compare to the millions of deaths, including thousands right here in our own community? How can we not take advantage of this amazing opportunity that modern science has given us to prevent the suffering of one more person?”

Vela’s message is direct and powerful.

“Save the grief, save the trauma, spare the expense, spare the loss– get the vaccine!” Because Tu Salud ¡Si Cuenta! (Your Health Matters!).

To find out where you can get a Covid-19 vaccine for free: Go to the CDC’s vaccine finder at: – Search for COVID-19 vaccine locations or check out your county and city health department websites and social media pages: · Cameron County Health Department website · City of Brownsville Covid-19 resource page: