The husband of a woman who died with Covid-19 after giving birth to their daughter has urged anyone who is unsure about receiving a vaccine to get the jab.

Josh Willis said his wife Samantha, who died last week after baby Eviegrace was delivered, initially had mild symptoms of the disease, but later began to experience severe breathlessness.

After her oxygen levels were checked by her GP, she was admitted to hospital where she gave birth and, despite initially responding well to treatment, later died at Altnagelvin Hospital in Derry.

At the beginning of August, the couple's four-year-old daughter Lilyanna had tested negative twice for the virus. However, Josh and Samantha tested positive.

"I was double vaccinated and I lost my taste and smell and that's bad in itself when you're hungry and trying to eat and everything tastes the same, but in the grand scheme of things I would take that the rest of my life, get Samantha back."

Speaking on RTÉ's Today with Philip Boucher Hayes, Mr Willis said they discovered Samantha was pregnant on 26 December.

At the time, the advice was that pregnant women should not get the vaccine, so Samantha did not get it, even though her job as a carer meant she was eligible to receive it.

The couple decided that she would get vaccinated once the baby was delivered because she was "so close to the end" and just eight weeks away from her due date.

"Today is actually Eviegrace's due date," he said.

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Josh Willis with his daughters outside the church in Derry

In addition, he said, they had already made it through a year of the pandemic and they were "doing everything right" and staying safe.

He said that Samantha finished work at 28 weeks and the family was not seeing many people and were staying home and staying safe.

"We thought it wouldn't make any difference, but it made the worst difference," he said.

"Standing at the graveside on Monday, I could nearly hear her telling me - that's it, we can't change anything. Move on and sort the children out"

He said he was not allowed to visit Samantha while she was on the Covid ward, but that they were in constant communication.

He said that he learned Samantha had told her mother she had been afraid that she would die at one point, but he never knew this.

Daughters Eviegrace and Lillyanna are held outside the church

Mr Willis said that he and Lilyanna were on a facetime call with Samantha when she delivered Eviegrace and that Lilyanna had spoken frequently with her mother while she was in hospital.

Josh said he took the four-year-old to the cathedral in Derry to light a candle for Samantha and they were on their way home when the hospital called to say he should come in.

He had to tell her that "mummy is very sick and the doctors say she might die".

"I have a lot of memories. I just wish I had more memories. She was loving, caring, a good wife, a good mother"

He did not expect to have to say it in that way, he said, and described how the colour drained from his daughter's face and she asked "who will be my mummy then?"

Josh spoke of how he told his wife as much as he could while she was in a medically induced coma, in the hope that she would hear him and know how much they all loved her.

He said that he will show their young daughters, Lilyanna and Eviegrace, photos and videos of their mother, and he is hopeful that Lilyanna will hold onto the memories that she has of Samantha.

He said their older children, Holly and Shea, are devastated, but understand a lot more and have the support of their friends and sports clubs.

Josh said he will try to stay positive because he promised Samantha that he would.

"She was texting me before she went back to the ICU and was being really positive ... so I just keep that in my mind, be positive.

"Standing at the graveside on Monday, I could nearly hear her telling me - 'that's it, we can't change anything. Move on and sort the children out'.

"She would probably say 'just leave me here and forget about me'. I'm obviously not going to do that, but that's the kind of person she was; putting herself last again.

"I have a lot of memories. I just wish I had more memories. She was loving, caring, a good wife, a good mother. She loved her job. She put everybody before herself."