A man who lost his entire immediate family to Covid in one week is urging people to get the vaccine.
Francis Goncalves’ mother, father and brother all died in hospital within two weeks of contracting coronavirus.
Despite his parents living with underlying health conditions, they, along with his brother, refused to take a jab.
‘(My family) got caught up in a lot of the anti-vaccination propaganda that’s going around,’ he told Wales Online.
‘It preys on people who are afraid and they fall into the trap.’
Francis, 43, who lives in Cardiff, is now speaking out so people who’ve been ‘misinformed’ by conspiracy theorists will consider getting vaccinated.
His brother Shaul, 40, had his parents – Basil, 73, and Charmagne, 65 – over for dinner on July 8, at his apartment in Portugal.
Shortly afterwards, all of them started to feel ill, with Shaul telling his brother he felt tired, and as if he was ‘filled with weight’.
The family tested positive for coronavirus and Basil and Charmagne were admitted to hospital on July 12.
It is suspected the parents contracted the disease while Basil was in hospital for kidney stones on July 6.
Basil, who has underlying health conditions, was put in an induced coma in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) within two days.
Although Francis had spoken to his parents briefly over text, they did not have phone chargers with them in hospital, and he had been relying on Shaul for updates while he made arrangements to travel to Portugal.
As he waited for the results of a PCR test – required to travel to amber-list countries – Francis got a call from his brother’s girlfriend saying he had also been rushed to hospital on July 17.
Tragically Shaul, who was the ‘healthiest person’ Francis knew, had died by 1am the next morning.
Francis said: ‘If he wasn’t working out in the gym or running, he was going on walks. He hadn’t drunk in 15 years and ate a whole foods plant-based diet.’
Francis believes a vaccine would have saved his brother’s life.
Within three days of losing his brother, Francis received a heartbreaking call telling him his dad had died as well.
He arrived in Portugal the next day on July 21, and the doctors let him dress in full PPE to see his mum who was in an induced coma.
Charmagne, who had an autoimmune disease, died on July 24.
Francis tragically had to bury both his parents and his brother next to each other at a cemetery in Lisbon called Sao Joao – where a section is dedicated to Covid-related deaths.
‘They said the entire time during Covid they’d never had three bodies brought in together from the same family,’ he said.
Francis has now returned to Wales and can begin to process his horrific ordeal.
He said: ‘I’m at home now and I know everything is going to sink in a lot faster because I don’t need to rush through things so much.
‘I’m going to have time to focus on what’s happened so I expect to be quite overwhelmed.’
Paying tribute to his parents, Francis said his dad ‘would wear broken shoes so (his children) could have the best they could get’ and his mum was a ‘mother hen’ who would do anything for her boys.
Francis called his brother his ‘best friend’ who loved animation and would ‘spend time helping people and wouldn’t ask for anything in return’.
He said he decided to speak about the difficult experience so others who are afraid of getting the vaccine will be encouraged to change their minds.