The husband of an unvaccinated mother who died of Covid says she could only see her daughter ‘three or four seconds’ before her tragic death.
Mother of four Samantha Willis, 35, died two weeks after baby Evie Grace was born, after battling the virus for 16 days, and was buried during an emotional service at Derry’s St Columb’s Church last week after passing away at Altnagelvin Hospital , Northern Ireland on August 20.
Her husband Josh, who appeared on Good Morning Britain today, said Samantha was initially concerned about changing her advice about the vaccine and pregnancy, but planned to get her shot shortly after giving birth.
Grieving husband Josh Willis (left) urges people to get vaccinated against Covid after revealing his 35-year-old pregnant wife died of the virus without ever meeting her baby girl after giving birth to her
Mother of four Samantha Willis, from Derry in Northern Ireland, died Friday at Altnagelvin Hospital after giving birth to her daughter Evie Grace, her husband said.
“Literally, it was three-four-second tops she saw her for,” Josh recalled. “I carried her for eight months and never got to hold her in her arms.”
Samantha was hospitalized on August 17 and gave birth via cesarean section with her husband and eldest daughter on FaceTime, but was unable to touch her daughter before doctors “waved her off” to test for Covid.
Josh said his beloved wife’s death “isn’t dawning on me yet,” and that his main goal is to share his wife’s story so people can “make their own mind about the vaccine.”
“I think because of her nature this is the last thing I can do for her – other than make her proud of raising the kids – that’s what she would have wanted,” he said.
Appearing on Good Morning Britain today, Josh said Samantha was initially concerned about changing her advice about the vaccine and pregnancy, but planned to get her shot shortly after giving birth.
He said that because Samantha was on maternity leave, he was working from home and their children were not going to school, it would be safe for the mother to wait until delivery to get her vaccine.
The couple discovered that Samantha was pregnant on Boxing Day, when little research had been done into the Covid vaccination and pregnancy.
“When we found out we were just excited that we were having another baby and we didn’t think about vaccination for a few days,” Josh said.
“Since the advice was ‘don’t understand’, we continued our work. She was careful with personal protective equipment, my work was similar. We followed the guidelines and did everything we had to do.
Pregnant women are urged to get a shot: only one in ten get vaccinated as hospital admissions rise among unvaccinated expectant mothers
Pregnant women have been urged to get stung as new data shows that only one in ten has come forward.
Health leaders said the number of Covid hospitalizations is rising rapidly among unvaccinated mothers-to-be.
New data from Public Health England shows that so far 51,724 pregnant women in England have received at least one dose, and 20,648 women have had two.
About 600,000 women in the UK are pregnant, meaning less than ten percent have been stung.
Since April, pregnant women have been eligible for the vaccine along with the rest of their age group.
“When it was early summer they said things had changed, a little more research had been done, it was safe to get the vaccine – we decided we had come this distance, so we decided the last seven or eight weeks and she would get vaccinated after that.”
He said that because Samantha was on maternity leave, he was working from home and their children were not going to school, they thought it would be safe for the mother to wait until delivery to get her vaccine.
“It was more because of the advice earlier in the year and then it was so quick, ‘We have enough research, it’s safe to get the shot,'” he said.
“We knew she was done with maternity leave, I would be working from home and the kids wouldn’t be going to school. We weren’t visiting, socializing. Even things like eating out I think we went twice when things opened up here.
“We thought, ‘We’re so close and then she can have the rest of the way, the baby can be born and she can be vaccinated and we can go on’.”
Josh said that while his wife was in the hospital, she urged others to get their shots, and that while he can’t “force people” to get the vaccine, he can “make Samantha proud” by sharing her story .
‘When Samantha was in the hospital at the beginning and the end of the ICU and in the intervening period, she said to a former colleague: ‘Make sure you get your vaccine’. I had a cousin who is pregnant and she said. “Make sure she gets the vaccine,” so I know she thought it was important that people get the vaccine,” Josh said.
“I feel like this is the last thing I can do for her to try and make her proud. If we saved one person, one family from what we went through as a family, we made her proud and she would be happy and one day thank me for it.”
He says it’s ‘great’ to have baby Evie Grace at home, revealing: ‘She sleeps around the clock, feeds and sleeps like babies do. She will be four weeks old tomorrow, she changes every day.’
The father says that while death was a challenge for all of their children, they “handle it well.”
“Everyone is sad and it’s a life-changing event, all they can do is push through and do it for Samantha,” he said.