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16th May, 2022

'The best birthday present' WWII veteran Joan gets Covid-19 jab

Ross Crawford 10th Jan, 2021

“IT’S the best present I could wish for” – that was the verdict of World War II veteran Joan Sprigg after she received a Covid-19 jab on 97th birthday.

Joan, who served in the Auxiliary Territorial Service (ATS), was given the jab at the Royal Star & Garter Home in Solihull on January 6.

All 50 residents, plus staff members were given the Pfizer / BioNTech vaccination.

Healthcare professionals opted for it to be administered in the Tudor Coppice Home’s large dining area, as it allowed social distancing and good ventilation.

Royal Star & Garter provides loving, compassionate care to veterans and their partners living with disability or dementia, at Homes in Solihull, Surbiton and High Wycombe.

Speaking afterwards, Joan said: “This is the best birthday present I could have wished for!”

Among other residents being vaccinated were Harry Southern, a Leading Seaman in the Navy who served in the Far East during WWII, and his wife of 70 years, Sue.

Harry said: “This seems the best way we have of beating the virus, so I’m delighted Sue and I have received it. It didn’t hurt and I really encourage others to have it.”

Pauline Shaw, director of care, spoke about the importance of vaccines, and her delight that it was now available to Royal Star & Garter residents.

She said: “My mother was permanently disabled from contracting a virus, poliomyelitis, in 1952 when she was just 26.

“The polio vaccination was made available in 1953 and has since prevented millions of people throughout the world from developing severe disability or dying.

“This is a living example of the impact of viruses and proof of the efficacy of vaccinations, as polio can now be prevented.

“The Covid vaccine will provide protection for our residents who are vulnerable or elderly.”

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