On Wednesday, Aug. 25, the 44-year-old Venezuelan-born Jungle Cruise actor posted a lengthy message to Instagram imploring his followers to get vaccinated against COVID-19. He shared that five of his Venezuelan-based loved ones, none having had access to the vaccine, have died in the past handful of months, including his aunt and uncle, who both died over the weekend.
“I beg you to please read this post carefully,” Edgar wrote. “It is the most painful and the most intimate thing I have had to publish in my life, but I think it is important to share it. At times I feel like it is a nightmare from which I am going to wake up, but I know it is not. That this is as real as the air that at this moment it is difficult for me to breathe.”
The star, who earned an Emmy nomination for the title role on FX’s The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story, added that his aunt’s brother-in-law died on Monday after battling COVID-19, which was just over a month after his grandmother died from it, and four months after the disease took the life of Edgar’s agent. The actor also shared video of himself participating in a recent sit-down about the ongoing pandemic with Dr. Anthony Fauci, who is President Joe Biden‘s chief medical advisor.
“My heart can’t just take more pain,” Edgar posted. “I am sad, I am frustrated, I am devastated. It’s been weeks and weeks of my family being played, tortured and jerked around by this cruel, treacherous and violent disease which mercilessly ended up killing them all. I can’t stand this void in my chest, this metallic taste in my mouth, this crippling headache that doesn’t seem to soothe.”
He continued, “None had access to a vaccine in Venezuela. Meanwhile, tens of thousands of vaccines are being thrown away in the United States because a large number of people don’t want them. It breaks my heart that so many people in this country are willing to snub the very vaccine my family would have taken in an instant.”
Edgar isn’t the first public figure in recent weeks to encourage others to get vaccinated amid the delta variant-fueled surge of COVID-19. In her interview for InStyle‘s September cover story, Jennifer Aniston said she is no longer close to a few of her friends who have chosen not to get the jab.
“We have to care about more than just ourselves here,” the Friends alum wrote on her Instagram Story to explain her stance.
For the latest updates on the coronavirus pandemic and for tips on how to prevent the spread of COVID-19, please visit The Center for Disease Control and Prevention at https://www.cdc.gov. To plan your vaccine, head to NBC’s Plan Your Vaccine site at PlanYourVaccine.com.