COVID death: Vaccinated Madison woman had underlying health issues

A Madison woman who was fully vaccinated has died of coronavirus complications, according to her sons who say her underlying health conditions likely made her more vulnerable to infection.

Seventy-five-year-old Olivia Kingree had diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, high blood pressure and mild dementia, her sons said. She also had a kidney condition for which she took steroids, which can suppress the immune system, and an immunosuppression drug. She died Sunday while in hospice at a Madison nursing home, the Wisconsin State Journal reported.

"My thought is that the combination of ... medications impaired her immune response to the vaccine, so she probably did not produce as many antibodies," said Dr. Seth Kingree, a son who works at a hospital in West Virginia where he has treated numerous COVID-19 patients.

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"People need to be careful, even if they don’t have serious underlying health conditions and even if they’re not immunocompromised, because if you spread it, you might spread it to somebody who is," said another son, Luke Kingree, a Madison attorney.

Dr. James Conway, a UW Health pediatrician and vaccine expert, said such cases are a reminder that the vaccines, while highly effective, aren’t a complete guarantee infection won’t occur.

"People who are vaccinated need to remember that it doesn’t make them superhuman," Conway said. "Especially if they’re in a high-risk category, they should still practice some moderate avoidance of activity."

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