Anti-vaxxer mother and daughter die from Covid in Belfast hospital

An anti-vaxxer mother and her daughter died just days apart in a Belfast hospital after they contracted Covid-19, leaving their family “devastated”.

The BBC reported that Sammie-Jo Forde, 32, died in the Ulster hospital on Saturday, where she had been treated on the same ward as her mother, Heather Maddern, who died on 31 August.

Maddern had shared a number of Covid conspiracy theories before her death, MailOnline reported, as well as a post about nurses facing dismissal if they refused the jab. She also shared videos from Candace Owens, a conservative commentator and activist from the US, on how to respond if your employer forces you to be vaccinated, and another from a woman arguing against children being jabbed.

Forde and Maddern were both care workers and would have been among the first groups eligible for a jab when the vaccine programme started in January.

Forde’s father, Kevin McAllister, told the BBC’s Nolan Show: “This has just shattered my world. I’ve lost my daughter, my best friend.” He said Forde, who had four children, and Maddern were “very, very close”. “They worked together, they lived together and they died together,” he said.

Maddern’s funeral took place on 13 September, while Forde’s has been arranged for 20 September.

“I never, never thought in my life I would bury my daughter,” McAllister told the BBC. He said he believed his daughter had no underlying health conditions. “She’s a 32-year-old healthy girl and she took heart failure at the end because she just couldn’t cope.”

He said he did not know why his daughter and his former partner had not taken up the offer of the vaccine. “These people who are not taking the Covid-19 injection – they’re not thinking of the other people that they leave behind,” he said.

Alan Chambers, an Ulster Unionist party MLA (member of the legislative assembly), who knows the family, told the Belfast Telegraph: “It’s such shocking news, Sammie-Jo had four kids. Sammie-Jo was such a good mum to them.”

The NHS officially launched its coronavirus booster campaign on Thursday, under which millions of eligible people will be offered a Pfizer vaccine, or in some cases a half dose of Moderna. They include frontline NHS and social care staff, anyone aged 50 and over, and those under 50 with health conditions that put them at risk of severe Covid.

People are likely to be offered their booster jab in the same order of priority as during the initial vaccination campaign.

PA news agency’s analysis of government data shows that just over 900,000 people in England aged 50 and above received their second dose of vaccine at least six months ago, making them eligible for a booster. That will reach 2.7 million by the start of October and 10.4 million by the start of November.

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