PUEBLO, Colo. — A 4-year-old Pueblo boy died from the flu this week, according to state health officials. FOX31 spoke exclusively with the boy’s father, Najee Jackson Sr., on Thursday.
The dad is speaking out as his family receives backlash online over a Facebook page suggesting his family supports the ideology of people who do not believe in getting vaccines, also known as anti-vaxxers.
“I miss everything about him,” Jackson said of his son Najee Jr.
Jackson, mother Geneva Montoya and their remaining three sons continue to battle flu symptoms. Jackson said their 10-month-old son’s symptoms seemed to be the worst — with high fevers requiring hospitalization.
Najee Jr.’s eventual flu diagnosis came as a total surprise, according to Jackson.
On Sunday, the family returned to their Pueblo home after their 10-month-old was treated at Children’s Hospital in Colorado Springs. That evening, Najee Jr. passed out.
“His heart stopped,” Jackson told FOX31. “He wasn’t breathing. They got his heart going back at the hospital in Pueblo.”
The boy was declared brain dead and was taken off life support.
Since news of the death, screen grabs of Facebook posts from Montoya have gone viral. On Jan. 31, Montoya wrote, “… my 4year old had a febrile seizure at only temp of 102. The doc prescribed tamaflu (sic) I did not pick it up …”
Montoya declined FOX31’s request for an interview.
Montoya is facing criticism for being associated with an anti-vaxxer group online. She and Jackson are also facing backlash for not recalling if their sons have been vaccinated against the flu.
Montoya’s Facebook posts shows she solicited unproven at-home flu treatments involving cucumbers and potatoes.
“I don’t look at none of it,” Jackson said, referring to the online criticism.
The grieving parents say what they’ve been through is hard enough and they don’t have time for online judgement.
“The negative comments — keep to yourself because at the end of the day, what’s important is that each one of these parents goes home and kisses their kids,” Jackson said.
The 10-month-old son’s condition is improving, Jackson said.
“His temperature is manageable now,” he said. “We’ve been on top of that.”
A GoFundMe page for the family has been established by Montoya.
Regardless of effectiveness, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends everyone 6 months and older get vaccinated every flu season.
Experts say the vaccine could prevent the flu. If it doesn’t, vaccinated people are still more likely to experience less severe symptoms.