Protecting children, families, and communities against influenza.
Family Stories

The Cover Family

FFF Advocate:
Vira Cover (mother)
Place of Residence:
Highlands Ranch, Colorado
Date of Death:
December 1, 2003
Share this Story:
<< Back to Family Stories

Elizabeth Terese Cover

Elizabeth was just 23-months old when she started exhibiting symptoms of flu. Three days later she passed away when her lungs filled with blood in a complication known as bi-lateral pneumonia.

It was Thanksgiving Day, 2003 when Vira noticed that her 23-month-old daughter, Elizabeth, wasn’t feeling well. She was just not acting like her sweet, energetic self. Instead, she was lethargic and cranky, and she didn’t want to be touched which was very unusual; usually she was very cuddly. 

The family was celebrating the holiday in Colorado Springs, but Vira decided to take Elizabeth home to Denver because she felt Elizabeth would be more comfortable in her own bed and Vira wanted to be near her doctor so she could have Vira seen immediately after the holiday. On the way home, she called her pediatrician and left a message and by the time they finally arrived home, Elizabeth’s fever has broken and Vira was hopeful that things might be getting better. However, Elizabeth remained lethargic. 

The doctor eventually called and advised Vira to get over-the-counter medication for Elizabeth. He said that unless her fever got to 104 degrees she shouldn’t need to bring her in. Elizabeth’s fever never increased over 103 degrees. Vira had told her husband that unless Elizabeth was doing much better the following day, she had planned to take her in to the doctor when he got home from work. 

At noon that day, Vira was sitting on the sofa with her daughter when she suddenly threw up. Vira noticed blood in the vomit and immediately grabbed her daughter and ran to the neighbors’ house for help. They called 911 and Vira started doing CPR on Elizabeth, who had become unconscious. When the paramedics arrived, they took Vira into another room of the house so that they could work on Elizabeth. They worked on her for what seemed like forever, and then they eventually came in and informed Vira that her precious child had passed.  

An autopsy confirmed that Elizabeth had contracted the flu – H1N1 specifically – and that it had led to a complication called bi-lateral pneumonia in which her lungs filled with blood.

Elizabeth was supposed to have a doctor’s appointment on December 22, at which time she was scheduled to receive her recommended childhood vaccines, including a flu shot. But the appointment came too late. Elizabeth passed away just one month before her scheduled doctor appointment.  She was one of 152 children in the U.S. who died from flu during the 2003-2004 flu season.

Vira often wonders what Elizabeth would be doing today if she were still here. She wonders about school and dances and boyfriends—all those “what-ifs”. But rather than dwell in grief, Vira advocates for the importance of flu immunization in hope that something positive can come out of her years of pain. 

She believes Elizabeth’s story has a purpose, and that is to make a difference for other parents and their children. She wants others to know that flu can be very serious. Every year children – and even otherwise healthy adults – die from flu.

She explains that getting a flu vaccine every year means making sure you’re as protected as possible. Even though the vaccine can’t guarantee you won’t get flu, it can help to reduce the severity of illness and keep you out of the hospital. Vira shares her story to illustrate that flu vaccination can save your life or the life of a loved one, and that not vaccinating is a risk you shouldn’t take.

Share this Story:
<< Back to Family Stories
Stay Informed
Sign up for our Weekly Flu News and quarterly newsletter, Fighting Influenza, to stay up-to-date on the latest flu news.
Newsletter

LOGO LICENSE AGREEMENT

You are required to accept all of the terms and conditions in this License Agreement in order to receive a limited, non-exclusive, non-transferable, non-assignable, royalty-free license to use the FAMILIES FIGHTING FLU, INC. logo, displayed below (the “FFF Logo”), from Families Fighting Flu, Inc. (“FFF”). In order to accept these terms and conditions, you must click the “I Accept” button below.

  1. FFF hereby grants to you, and you accept, a limited, non-exclusive, non-transferable, non-assignable, royalty-free license to use the FFF Logo, which you may download and use solely in online and print earned media publications for a period of no more than six (6) months in the United States.
  2. You acknowledge that the FFF Logo is a valid trademark; that FFF is the sole owner of the FFF Logo; and that FFF retains all right, title, and interest in and to the FFF Logo. You agree that any and all use that you make of the FFF Logo, and any and all goodwill arising from your use of the FFF Logo, shall inure exclusively to the benefit of FFF.  You also agree that you shall not challenge the validity of the FFF Logo or FFF’s ownership or title thereto during the term of the License Agreement or thereafter.
  3. You agree that you shall use the FFF Logo only in the form shown above, and that you shall not alter, modify, change, or edit the FFF Logo in any manner.
  4. You acknowledge the valuable goodwill and reputation in the FFF Logo, and that it is essential that the high standards and reputation associated with the FFF Logo be maintained. You therefore agree to use the FFF Logo consistent with the highest standards of quality so as to protect and maintain the FFF Logo and FFF’s rights therein.
  5. FFF shall have the right to review and inspect your use of the FFF Logo at any time. FFF, in its sole discretion, may determine that you are not using the FFF Logo in an acceptable manner and require that you discontinue your use of the FFF Logo.  To the extent that FFF requires that you discontinue your use of the FFF Logo, you agree that you shall remove the FFF Logo from all online and print earned media publications as soon as practicable under the circumstances, and that you shall not use the FFF at any time in the future.
  6. You must include the following notice in connection with any use of the FFF Logo: “The Families Fighting Flu, Inc. logo is the registered trademark of Families Fighting Flu, Inc.”
I Accept