Resident of Wales, UK, Francis Gonçalves uses the pain of losing his mother, father and brother as an impetus to warn others of the risks of not getting vaccinated against covid-19.
The three lived in Portugal and decided not to get the vaccine, swayed by false news about the supposed risks of vaccination that has no scientific evidence. In July, they died within a week of complications from the disease, which they appear to have contracted during a family event.
“They didn’t take the opportunity to get vaccinated because they were afraid. My parents had chronic health problems, but they should have been vaccinated.
“I know a lot of people choose not to get the vaccine. They can’t see it another way – for example, why would someone give doses if they were harmful?”
“I empathize with these people, they wonder if they are doing the right thing. But it’s going to hurt our families, so all (anti-vaccine) advertising has to stop.”
To make Gonçalves’ pain worse, he was unable to travel to Portugal due to travel restrictions within the country. While detained in the UK, his father Basil, 73, his mother Charmagne, 65, and brother Shaul, 40, were hospitalized and faced a rapid deterioration in their health.
The brother died on July 17, followed by the father three days later, until the mother succumbed to covid-19 on July 24.
Gonçalves says messages of support from friends and family help cope with this tremendous grief.
“I don’t think it will be easy for long. But people are looking for me and offering their condolences. There hasn’t been a day that no one has stopped contacting me. It really helped me.”