Woman with terminal illness advocating for vaccine priority list to be revised

Kate de Kock
Kate de Kock(KFYR-TV)
Published: Feb. 15, 2021 at 8:33 PM CST
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BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - The pandemic has kept a terminally ill North Dakota woman isolated for most of the past year.

Now, Kate de Kock is appealing to the Health Department to put those in her condition in a higher vaccine priority group.

De Kock is 33 years old and is living with metastatic breast cancer.

“Half of my life expectancy that I can reasonably expect to have has been completely wasted stuck at home because of COVID,” said de Kock.

The North Dakota Department of Health is utilizing a three-tiered vaccine priority group.

De Kock doesn’t qualify for the vaccine until the end of the second tier, which could take until the end of summer.

“Guidelines right now are that if they have access to the vaccine, they should get it,” said Dr. Aaron Luebke, oncologist at Sanford.

De Kock desperately called around, begging anyone to give her the vaccine.

“I had to really explain like, here is my diagnosis, this will kill me, can I please have the vaccine,” said de Kock.

That’s when she found out Thrifty White Pharmacy was administering to anyone in the second group.

“I cried when I got it. I really did. I just couldn’t believe it happened,” said de Kock.

De Kock got her vaccine on Feb. 5. A day she said her life felt normal again.

“I’m just so excited I can’t wait to visit people, people I haven’t seen in ages,” said de Kock.

Now she’s advocating for others with cancer and terminal illnesses who don’t have access to the vaccine.

“It’s really a disservice to North Dakotans living with terminal illness that might have to wait so much longer. Like I said, some people might not even be around for their turn,” said de Kock.

Until her second dose in a few weeks, de Kock will continue to isolate until she can get back out on more adventures.

De Kock says once she is fully vaccinated she plans to travel more and hopes to make a trip to Africa.

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