TriVent Healthcare News

UAB patient uses his story to encourage 250 people to get vaccinated against COVID-19

After 39 days on a ventilator and 79 days in the hospital, UAB patient, Justin Moon, continues to encourage and influence others to get vaccinated for COVID-19. (Videography: Jeff Myers, Andrea Reiber and Steve Wood)

by Anna Jones

After 39 days on a ventilator due to COVID-19, Justin Moon, 36, woke up with a hole in his throat, unable to talk, walk or move. All he could do was blink.  

Moon, a Tuscaloosa resident and former University of Alabama football player, was admitted to his local hospital with COVID-19 on July 21, 2021. Days later, he was placed on a ventilator and transported to the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Moon spent 79 days in the hospital, with most of those days at UAB Hospital. He is currently on the road to recovery, regaining his strength and learning how to walk, stand up and use his right arm again after experiencing nerve damage.  

“During those six weeks on the ventilator, I had no idea that I was fighting for my life,” Justin Moon said. “There’s only one other step beyond where I was at, and that’s cremation or going in your box. I actually died for four minutes, and they shocked me and brought me back. It’s a complete miracle that God saved me. Not too many people get a second chance at life.” 

Inspiring others

After a long and difficult battle with the virus, Justin and his wife, Mel Moon, have used their story to encourage their network of friends, family and colleagues to get vaccinated through texts, emails and face-to-face conversations. To date, Justin’s family members and his employer have used his story to inspire at least 250 people to get vaccinated.   

Prior to being diagnosed with COVID-19, Justin and his wife openly discussed their hesitation of getting the vaccine due to the spread of misinformation surrounding the shot. After the second surge hit, they decided it was time to get vaccinated. Unfortunately, their decision came too late. Just days before they were scheduled to get their first dose, both were diagnosed with COVID-19. It was then that the Moons began to face one of the most difficult situations they had ever faced.  

“We were unsure of the vaccine, and we were wrong,” Justin Moon said. “My situation did not have to be like this. If I had not been unsure of the vaccine and got vaccinated, it would have probably gone like a lot of other stories. … I would have had a headache, shortness of breath and just laid on the couch for a few days.” 

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