A tight-knit family was devastated after both parents and a brother died of COVID-19 within a week of one another.
Francis Goncalves, a 43-year old chef living in Cardiff, Wales, pictured below, told reporters his family members were unvaccinated because they believed vaccine disinformation.
WalesOnline (@WalesOnline) August 8, 2021
“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.
Francis Goncalves (@Francis45931210) August 1, 2021
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, according to the outlet. 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.
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, 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 hospitalization or death by 25 times in the face of the coronavirus, even 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, according to The Guardian.
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 told the BBC.
“I know a lot of people are choosing not to get the vaccine,” he said.
“I empathize 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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