As vaccine programs kick into high gear, many Canadians have been rolling up their sleeves. The COVID-19 vaccine rollout is now open to people 80 years and older in most Ontario regions, and so far more than 1.1 million doses have been given.
A very special person joined the lineup to get vaccinated in Toronto on Saturday: 114-year-old Phyllis Ridgway. She is the oldest living person on record in Canada. As Phyllis got out of the car, she was all smiles.
Her granddaughter, Barbara Ridgway, watched on with relief. “I actually haven’t seen her this happy and excited in quite some time,” said Barbara.
Phyllis celebrated her 114th on March 10. Her family physician Dr. Leslie Beyers brought Phyllis to Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre for the vaccine. Beyers has hospital privileges at the center and was able to give her patient the shot.
“I am absolutely grateful and happy that we were able to do this today and get that vaccine in her arm,” Beyers said.
Phyllis still lives in her home, so this current phase of the vaccine rollout was the earliest opportunity for her to be vaccinated for COVID-19. Leaving the hospital, she gave the whole process a five-star rating. “Oh my goodness, I just can’t, I’ll never get over it,” Phyllis said. “It was wonderful!”
Phyllis would have been around 10 years old when the last pandemic gripped the world in 1918, the Spanish Flu. She remembers the event but admits the details are a bit foggy. “It didn’t seem to affect us very much, or maybe I was too young to really remember,” Phyllis said.
Barbara said she is thrilled the family matriarch is one step closer to being protected against COVID-19. She said she is looking forward to when Phyllis gets the second dose and life can return to normal. “It’s always very odd when I go to visit and from a distance you just say, ‘Bye Grandma,’ so it will be nice to give her a nice long hug,“ Barbara said.
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