wplg logo

Monroe County commissioner dies of COVID-19 in vaccine breakthrough case

Monroe County Commissioner Mike Forster died on Monday morning of complications with COVID-19 after a vaccine breakthrough infection.
Monroe County Commissioner Mike Forster died on Monday morning of complications with COVID-19 after a vaccine breakthrough infection.

MONROE COUNTY, Fla. – Monroe County Commissioner Mike Forster, who was the former mayor of the Village of Islamorada, died on Monday morning of complications with COVID-19 after a vaccine breakthrough infection. He was 61.

Rev. Tony Hammon, of Island Community Church, announced on Facebook Foster died at 4:15 a.m. at Baptist Hospital in Miami-Dade County.

“Mike was one of the most amazing, caring, loving and giving humans, touching the lives of so many in the Keys and around the world,” his nephew Brian Shapiro wrote. “Mike was fearless in living his best life with purpose and passion so uniquely and authentically ‘Mangrove’ Mike.”

Monroe County commissioner, who was former Islamorada mayor, dies of COVID-19

Forster, of Key Largo, owned the Mangrove Mike’s Cafe at 82200 Overseas Hwy., in Islamorada. Before he was elected commissioner, he served five terms in the Village of Islamorada council for 12 years. He was appointed mayor twice and vice mayor twice. He also served on the Islamorada Chamber Of Commerce board of directors.

Monroe County Mayor Michelle Coldiron announced on Aug. 26 that Forster had been diagnosed with COVID-19. He developed pneumonia and was transferred to the intensive care unit where he died. Coldiron released a statement on Monday.

“It is with an extremely heavy heart that we have lost our beloved colleague,” Coldiron wrote. “Mike passionately gave his all to the Florida Keys. He fed everyone with food, with love, with encouragement, with positive words, and with hugs.”

Hammon told Local 10 that Forster was a compassionate person who wanted to help people from the Florida Keys to Uganda, where he traveled to help children.

“Everyone that had any contact with Mike already felt like they were a good friend. And that he loved them,” Hammon said.

Forster, who represented Monroe County’s District 5, had received a single dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which clinical trials showed had a 72% overall efficacy against severe COVID-19 in the U.S., according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The two-dose Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines had more than 95% efficacy against severe disease as defined by the FDA.

5 p.m. report

Noon report

Related social media

This is a developing story. Local 10 News Reporters Janine Stanwood, Terrell Forney, Glenna Milberg and Assignment Desk Editor Guadalupe Monarrez contributed to this report.


About the Authors:

Terrell Forney joined Local 10 News in October 2005 as a general assignment reporter. He was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, but a desire to escape the harsh winters of the north brought him to South Florida.

Parker Branton joined Local 10 News in January 2019 as a reporter. He was born and raised in Rome, Georgia, but now loves living on the sunny beaches of South Florida.