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Vaccination effort picks up speed, but it's too late for some

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The founder of a child care center focusing on kids from struggling families in Baltimore was excited when COVID vaccines started getting approved late last year. Sadly, she fell ill in December and died on New Year's Eve before she had the opportunity to get vaccinated. Michael George reports.

Video Transcript

ADRIANA DIAZ: The cold and hazardous weather has delayed delivery of some six million doses, affecting all 50 states. New infections have slowed dramatically in most states, but the US death toll is fast approaching another devastating milestone. 500,000 deaths.

Michael George in New York tonight joins us for more. Michael, good evening.

MICHAEL GEORGE: Adriana, good evening. So far, close to 42 million Americans have received at least the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. But it's still not fast enough for some who hoped to get the vaccine but never got the chance.

CRYSTAL HARDY-FLOWERS: The parents in this community want the same thing for their children.

MICHAEL GEORGE: Crystal Hardy-Flowers' life was devoted to children.

CRYSTAL HARDY-FLOWERS: We are all in this together.

MICHAEL GEORGE: Known as Miss Crystal, the Baltimore mother started Little Flowers, a childcare center dedicated to helping kids from struggling families. Her niece Jasmine says she's a hero.

How many lives do you think she touched in her work?

JASMINE HARDY: I would say hundreds.

TIFFANY LEWIS: An awesome person to be around. Will make you laugh.

MICHAEL GEORGE: Preschool teacher Tiffany Lewis, who's now grieving Miss Crystal, calls her a "rare jewel."

TIFFANY LEWIS: Every now and then I still think about her and wish that I can call her for certain things. It hurts. It really does.

MICHAEL GEORGE: Miss Crystal suffered from COPD and was at high risk. Despite that she kept working, knowing the children she cared for needed help.

JASMINE HARDY: When we first heard about the vaccine, she was very excited about it because she really, really wanted to get it.

MICHAEL GEORGE: Instead, Hardy-Flowers got sick in December. And on New Year's Eve, she died from complications from COVID at the age of 55.

JASMINE HARDY: It was very devastating and shocking because of course, the whole time she was in the hospital we were all like, you know, "Get better. We're going to see when you get home. You're going to shake it off."

MICHAEL GEORGE: Miss Crystal's daughter Ashley wishes her mother could have been one of the lucky ones to get the vaccine.

ASHLEY FLOWERS: Even if I can just have another day, another minute, just to tell her, you know, everything that we wanted to tell her, that would make all of the difference.

MICHAEL GEORGE: And in response to Crystal Hardy-Flowers' death, Maryland's Department of Education called for childcare providers like her to get priority to receive the vaccine, calling their work essential. Adriana?

ADRIANA DIAZ: Michael George in New York. Thank you.