Covid-19: Unvaccinated mother and daughter die just two beds apart

Care workers Heather Maddern and Sammie-Jo Forde died within days of each other

Sammie-Jo Forde (right) and her mother, Heather Maddern, died within days in the same Belfast  hospital. Image: Facebook

Sammie-Jo Forde (right) and her mother, Heather Maddern, died within days in the same Belfast hospital. Image: Facebook


An unvaccinated mother and daughter died within days of each other on the same ward of a hospital in Co Down last week after both contracted the Covid-19 virus.

Heather Maddern and her 32-year-old daughter Sammie-Jo Forde were both care workers. Ms Forde died on Saturday while her mother died days earlier just two beds away at Ulster Hospital.

Speaking on BBC Radio Ulster’s The Nolan Show on Wednesday, Ms Maddern’s ex-partner Kevin McAllister said the events would “haunt” him for the rest of his life.

“I’ve had the worst weekend of my life last weekend there,” he said. “My daughter passed away on Saturday from Covid-19. Her mummy got buried yesterday. She had Covid-19.

“Both of them never took the Covid-19 injections. These people who are not taking the Covid-19 injection. They’re not thinking of the other people they’re leaving behind.

“My daughter was 32 years old with four kids. 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 even give her a kiss cheerio. I’ve heard people come on who have lost parents but I wouldn’t wish what I am going through on anyone.

“I can’t get it out of my mind why she didn’t take it. It will haunt me for the rest of my life.”


Mr McAllister, who was emotional throughout the interview, criticised misinformation around Covid-19 vaccines.

“I just wish these people out there who make out this injection to be about corruption and all this rubbish on Facebook... If she had have taken it she would be alive today,” he said. “I wish some people out there would just listen to the experts. I’m devastated.

“It’s so sad because they had the opportunity to take it. Loads of people out there are not taking it. They don’t realise what they are leaving behind. We have to pick up the pieces. I have two sons as well and they have lost their sister.”

Mr McAllister said his daughter had no underlying health conditions. He said he received a text message from her last week to tell him his ex-partner had taken a bad turn and died.

“They were very close, and I mean close,” he said. “They worked together, they lived together, and they died together. For some reason they just had this belief in not taking it. I just never thought I’d be burying my daughter.”

A fundraising page has been set up by Ms Forde’s friend, Debbie Strain, to provide financial support to the family. More than £10,000 has been raised.