A self-confessed vaccine sceptic who is seriously ill after contracting Covid says he now hopes to have the courage to ‘do the right thing’ and take the jab.
Tony Foy (51), from Ballybofey, was speaking in an emotional video recorded from his hospital bed in Letterkenny.
A former businessman with the family-run Foy & Co, he is now executive director of Net Ministries Ireland, an evangelical organisation that works with young people.
In the video, the father of seven describes himself as a fit and healthy individual who took nearly all the recommended precautions against contracting the disease.
However, clearly struggling to breathe and hooked up to an oxygen machine, he said he felt the initial response to the pandemic in March 2020 was ‘disproportionate’ and that he had ‘little trust’ in the government.
“In 2018 when those same guys (politicians) who are now giving us health advice started dancing in Dublin Castle (at the abortion referendum result), something broke inside me,” he explained.
“I said ‘I wasn’t going to take health advice from these guys’. And then, someone sent me a message from Pope Francis advocating for Covid Vaccines, and I completely ignored it…I’m not proud of that.”
Instead, he took loads of health supplements and kept himself fit as well as taking other precautions.
He also revealed that around a quarter of the 40-strong young missionaries in Net Ministries had taken the vaccine.
All but two of them got Covid, however, the unvaccinated ones, including himself, were most seriously affected. The vaccinated members only felt ‘very extremely mild symptoms.’
He said that a young male nurse in Letterkenny had advised him that, while he respected his decision not to vaccinate, the vast majority of patients hospitalised in the past two weeks with Covid were unvaccinated and in their 40s and 50s.
Asked what he would do differently, given that he is seriously ill in hospital after contracting Covid, Mr Foy had this to say.
“Looking into my kids’ eyes as I headed off to hospital, I didn’t feel pretty responsible,” he said.
“I wouldn’t want any other parent to feel how I felt, leaving my family and knowing that it was, potentially, unnecessary.”
Mr Foy said that Pope Francis, by encouraging people to get vaccinated, had let Catholics ‘off the hook in terms of morals and ethics for this vaccine’ but that he had ‘totally ignored that’.
“This is not a pro-vaccine video by any manner of means, but I know what I would do differently,” he said.
“I know that, when the time comes, I hope I have the courage to do the right thing and follow the Pope (regarding vaccination) and stick with the Pope. If we, as Catholics, needed unity in this, and in God’s blessing, it is now. I think that’s why God might have wanted me to do this video, so that you might learn something from it.”
Watch the full video here: https://youtu.be/zHVE-hiAjDs