An unvaccinated British mother and her daughter have died less than a fortnight apart in hospital after both contracted coronavirus, leaving their family ‘devastated’.
Sammie-Jo Forde, 32, died in Ulster Hospital near Belfast last Saturday, only 11 days after her mother Heather Maddern, 55, passed away in the same ward on August 31.
Miss Forde’s father Kevin McAllister said it will ‘haunt me for the rest of my life’ that his daughter did not take the vaccine, adding that she leaves behind four children.
Both Miss Forde and Ms Maddern – who were only two beds away from each other in hospital – were care workers who looked after elderly people in their own homes.
Miss Forde, who had no underlying health conditions, had been texting her father while she was being treated in hospital and told him: ‘Dad, Mummy’s passed away’
A funeral for Ms Maddern, who lived in Groomsport, was held three days ago on Monday – while a service for Miss Forde is set to take place next Monday.
In an emotional interview, Mr McAllister told BBC Radio Five Live presenter Stephen Nolan yesterday: ‘I’ve had the worst weekend of my life last weekend.
‘My daughter passed away on Saturday, Covid-19. Her mummy got buried yesterday, she had Covid-19, and both of them never took the Covid-19 injections.
‘My daughter was 32 with four kids. To make matters worse was it’s her oldest son’s birthday today. He will be 13 today.
‘So these people who are not taking their Covid-19 injection, they are not thinking of the other people they’re leaving behind.
‘I’ve lost my daughter, my best friend, all I have are memories of her, motorbike racing, fishing, driving diggers, that’s all the memories I have.
‘She’s getting buried next Monday – and I can’t give her a kiss cheerio. To happen to your own family, I wouldn’t wish it on nobody, what I’ve gone through.
‘I’ve come back to work today to get my mind off it, but next Monday, I have to bury my first born, my best friend, my daughter, and I just never can get out of my mind why she didn’t take it. It will haunt me for the rest of my life.’
Mr McAllister, who also has two sons, said he did not understand why neither his daughter nor Ms Maddern, who is his ex-partner, decided not to have the jab.
“They helped other people and they couldn’t even help themselves,” he said, adding of his daughter: ‘I just wish to God she’d took it.’
Yesterday, ten further deaths of patients who had tested positive for Covid-19 were reported in Northern Ireland.
The Department of Health said there had also been 1,304 new confirmed cases in the last 24-hour reporting period.
Yesterday morning, there were 426 Covid-19 inpatients in hospital, 36 of whom were in intensive care. A total of 2,498,979 vaccines have been administered.
Meanwhile, the head of region’s vaccination programme said booster Covid-19 jabs will start to be administered within 10-12 days in Northern Ireland.
Patricia Donnelly said the rollout will start in care homes with staff and residents, before moving on to other priority groups including the elderly and vulnerable.
An estimated 900,000 people will receive the booster jab, six months after their last dose.
Ms Donnelly said the vaccine programme is also likely to start being offer to children aged 12 to 15 in schools from October.Internet Explorer Channel Network