Sybil Reid celebrates her 100th birthday on Monday (Feb 8), but her family and friends were fearful she would never get her telegram from the Queen after contracting COVID.
Now her grand-daughter, Sister Karen Aucock, a leading vaccinating nurse in the frontline fight against the disease, is urging people to with get vaccinated when they get the call.
“We honestly thought we were going to lose my Nan,” Karen remembers. “We were really, really afraid that she would not make her 100th.”
Karen is lead nurse at Wolverhampton Road GP practice in Stafford, and is also working at the vaccination centre at Stafford’s County Showground. She vaccinated the first patient to receive protection in the Stafford area and is also vaccinating housebound patients in their own homes.
Karen and Sybil talk about her 100th birthday and COVID
She said: “After our family experience with my Nan this is very personal and I would be vaccinating seven days per week if I got the opportunity.”
Sybil, who was a keen dancer and danced the Charleston until she was 84, lives in Wolverhampton and has always been very independent. She was due to receive her own COVID vaccination today (Friday).
She said: “I do advise people who are hesitant to have the vaccination because it could save their life and could save other people’s lives, so I hope they go ahead and have this vaccine.”
Karen added: “Everyone needs to take COVID very seriously. My Nan really suffered. When we spoke to her in hospital she sounded as if she was drowning. She was in hospital for 12 weeks.
“She was incredibly independent but since having COVID her hearing and sight have got worse and she is receiving four support visits to her home every day.
“We shall just be having a quiet 100th birthday celebration with my Nan, my brother and myself. It’s a pity the rest of the family will miss out but we need to stick to her bubble to protect everyone.”
Dr Paddy Hannigan, Clinical Lead for the Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent Vaccination Programme said: “We’d all like to take this opportunity to wish Sybil a happy 100th birthday and to thank Karen and everyone who is participating in our vaccination programme. It is a massive undertaking and could not happen without the support of thousands of people from the NHS, our partners and volunteers.”
He added: “Please wait to be contacted for a vaccination appointment, but do everything possible to take it when it is offered.”