A COVID-19 patient (unrelated to the story) in a hospital in Lisbon, Portugal.
Paulo Mumia/picture alliance/Getty Image
  • Francis Goncalves says his parents and brother died after contracting Covid-19.
  • He said they all died within a week after getting "caught up" in "anti-vaccination propaganda."
  • He hopes his story will inspire others to get vaccinated.
  • For more stories go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.

A tight-knit family unit was devastated after both parents and a brother died after catching Covid-19 within a week of each other. Francis Goncalves, a 43-year-old chef living in Cardiff, Wales, pictured below, told reporters his family members were unvaccinated because they firmly believed in vaccine disinformation.

"They got caught up in a lot of the anti-vaccination propaganda," he said, according to The Guardian. "It preys on people who are afraid and they fall into the trap."

A fateful family dinner

According to multiple reports, the family, originally from South Africa, had moved to the UK in 2015. A year later, the parents Basil, 73, and Charmagne, 65, and brother Shaul, 40 - pictured in the tweet below - moved to Portugal.

Goncalves said he believes his family caught the coronavirus at a family dinner at the apartment his brother shares with his girlfriend in Portugal on July 8, WalesOnline reported.

Goncalves, who was still in the UK at the time, did not attend, WalesOnline reported.

His father had gone to the hospital a couple of days before because of kidney stones. "We think he picked Covid up there," Goncalves said, according to WalesOnline.

On the weekend of July 10, Goncalves' parents and brother all started feeling unwell, WalesOnline reported. On July 14, his father was moved to the ICU, while other family members started to deteriorate, WalesOnline reported.

Concerned, Goncalves started to make plans to return to Portugal, WalesOnline reported.

But as he was waiting for the results of his PCR test to be able to travel, his brother died, WalesOnline reported. His father died three days later, a day before Goncalves was able to fly over.

When he arrived, his mother was already in an induced coma, WalesOnline reported. She died a few days later, on July 24, only seven days after Goncalves' brother died.

All three were buried side by side in the Covid-19 section of a Lisbon cemetery, The Telegraph reported.

Goncalves' parents had underlying issues. But his brother was the 'healthiest person' he knew

"My mother and father had underlying health problems," said Goncalves, the BBC reported. "But they should have had the vaccine... there was fear-mongering."

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said that vaccines reduce the risk of hospitalisation or death by 25 times in the face of the coronavirus, even if it is with the highly transmissible Delta variant.

But Goncalves said his brother was the "healthiest person" he knew, regularly working out, running, or going on walks, he said. "He hadn't drunk in 15 years and had a plant-based diet," he said, The Guardian reported.

Goncalves hopes his story will inspire others to get the vaccine.

"The message I want to get out is why would the government want to hurt you by giving you a vaccine?" he said, the BBC reported.

"I know a lot of people are choosing not to get the vaccine," he said.

"I empathise with them, they ask 'are we doing the right thing?' But this is going to harm our families and the propaganda has to stop."

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