A conservative Georgia city councilman who previously railed again the COVID-19 vaccines is now urging others to get jabbed after his own battle with the virus.
Jim Sells, 71, of Grantville, Georgia, was hospitalized for 16 days due to the virus last month.
He told Newsweek that he was ‘hardcore anti-vaccine’ before he had to deal with the virus himself.
Sells even urged others to not to get vaccinated, as he did not trust the shots himself.
Now, after falling ill with COVID-19 himself, and realizing what the current virus outbreak is doing to local hospitals, he is urging the people he once told not to get vaccinated to get jabbed.
Jim Sells (pictured) was ant-vaxx before he personally contracted COVID-19 in August and was hospitalized for 16 days. Now, he is pushing for others in his Georgia community to get vaccinated
Sell (pictured) is the city councilman of Grantville, Georgia. He hopes more residents get vaccinated to alleviate the current capacity issues in hospitals across the state. More than 96% of Georgia ICU beds are currently in use
Sells said surviving his bout of the virus was a gift from God, and now he would not waste the gift ‘and not try to do something to pass the word to my group of hard-headed conservatives.’
‘I prayed for recovery, and all my friends prayed, and the doctors and nurses worked on me,’ he told 11 Alive news in Atlanta.
‘I said “if you can recover from this, you have to change everything,” Sells said.
‘This has to be a life-changer.’
Sells has been out of the hospital for around a week now, and says he only feels like 30 percent of himself.
He is one of 48 percent of Georgia residents that are currently unvaccinated for Covid.
The state, which does not report cases daily, is currently averaging around 8,900 new cases per day – a 17 percent increase over the last two weeks.
Just over 78 deaths are being recorded every day as well, 0.73 out of every 100,000 residents and the seventh highest rate of any state.
The recent uptick of cases and deaths have also proved a problem for hospitals in the state.
More than 6,400 people are hospitalized with the virus, and 96 percent of the state’s ICU beds are currently in use – one of the worst situations of any state.
Having seen the situation in hospitals first hand now, Sells understands that getting more Georgians vaccinated can help quell a terrible situation.
‘We don’t have our hospitals now, they’re COVID centers,’ Sells told Newsweek.
‘We need our hospital back, the vaccine is the quickest way.’
He has faced some backlash for changing his tune, though, as those he stood with previously in the culture war surrounding vaccines are now his opposition.
Sells also blamed social media like Facebook for himself and others in his community being misinformed.
‘Social media is killing people. Anything that supports your belief will come your way and you’ll be in that cultural group,’ he said.
‘I’m catching hell for promoting the vaccine, but I’m not gonna let up,’
‘The hospitals are full, and the morgues are full of unvaccinated patients, and I damn near became one.’
In Coweta County, where Sells serves around 35 miles southwest of Atlanta, 35 percent of residents are fully vaccinated and just under 40 percent have received at least one shot of a vaccine.
The county has recorded 18,358 COVID-19 cases and 256 deaths from the virus since the pandemic first began.