Baldwin Park councilman mourns brother's death to COVID-19, urges residents to get vaccinated

Denise Dador Image
Wednesday, August 11, 2021
Baldwin Park councilman mourns brother's death to COVID
It took a tragedy for a Baldwin Park councilmember to see that the COVID-19 vaccines worked. Now he's urging everyone to get vaccinated immediately because he doesn't want other families to feel his pain.

BALDWIN PARK, Calif. (KABC) -- He was on the fence about getting the COVID-19 vaccine. Now, a local city councilman is urging everyone to get vaccinated immediately after his younger brother lost his battle with the virus.

On July 24, 42-year-old Anthony Damian, beloved husband and father, died from COVID-19. Shortly before, he spoke to his brother, Baldwin Park Councilmember Daniel Damian.

"And I got to hear his final wishes for me," an emotional Damian shared with the public during a recent meeting. "'I love you brother. Take care of my girls. Take care of my little girl.'"

"That was my best friend and my little brother," Damian told Eyewitness News.

Damian said his brother lived a life pretty much without regret, except for one.

"He knew that the vaccines were important. He knew that, you know, that we made a mistake, that we should have gotten vaccinated earlier on," he said.

Damian, his brother and others in his family had been on the fence about the vaccines for various reasons.

"It's just that we felt that this vaccine came out really quick. It seemed like it was rushed out," Damian said.

But Damian witnessed the vaccine's effect firsthand. His mother and aunt got COVID the same time his brother did. The difference was they had been vaccinated.

"That opened up my eyes, my family's eyes... We're to the point where it's not if we get this virus, it's when we get this virus," Damian said. "And we're better off being protected as much as we can."

Before his brother died, Damian went to Kaiser Permanente Baldwin Park to get his first dose. It was the same hospital his brother was at, but he couldn't visit. Instead, he called.

"I told him, 'Hey I got my vaccine.' He was happy to hear that," Damian said. "He said, 'You know, I want my family to get vaccinated as well.'"

It took a tragedy, Damian said, for him to see how these vaccines worked, and he doesn't want other families to feel his pain.

"Put the politics aside. Look at things with an open mind and get the vaccine, so that you can protect yourself and your families," he said.