American anti-vaxxer dies 'suddenly and unexpectedly' after contracting COVID-19

A California woman who reportedly described herself as "unmasked, unmuzzled, unvaccinated and unafraid" has died of COVID-19. 

Kristen Lowery, 40, died a week ago after contracting the virus and developing pneumonia, leaving behind four children, the Daily Mail reported.

Before she died, Lowery reportedly posted anti-vaccination material on Facebook, describing herself as a "free thinker" and an "ex-vaxxer". The page has since been made private.

A GoFundMe crowdfunding page set up to pay her funeral expenses claimed she died "suddenly and unexpectedly", without mentioning what killed her. 

But her sister had previously posted she was "in the hospital fighting for her life against COVID and pneumonia", telling others she did "not care about your opinion on vaccinated or not". An aunt also wrote Lowery had "lost her battle against COVID". 

Vaccines are highly effective at preventing serious illness and death against COVID-19, but the US has struggled to get everyone on board - despite being home to major vaccine makers Pfizer and Moderna, and being one of the wealthiest nations  on Earth, just 64 percent of eligible Americans have been fully vaccinated and nearly 2000 people are still dying of the disease every day. 

US President Joe Biden recently said it was now largely a "pandemic of the unvaccinated".

Despite her anti-vaccination views, the GoFundMe page says she was "a phenomenal mother who always, ALWAYS put her children first". So far $11,665 has been raised, most going towards paying for the funeral and the rest into a savings account for her kids.

In 2019, nearly a year before the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19 was discovered, the World Health Organization listed vaccine hesitancy as one of the biggest threats to global health.

The COVID-19 vaccines currently being used in the US only have extremely rare side effects, the risk of complications thousands of times less than contracting COVID-19.