First patient in St James’s Hospital residential care unit receives vaccine

by Rachel Darcy

Covid-19 survivor, Maura Byrne, 95, has become the first person to receive the Covid-19 vaccination in Hollybrook Lodge, St James’s Hospital’s residential care unit.

After receiving the vaccine Maura said: “I feel great at the moment!”

After receiving the vaccine, Maura encouraged others to receive the jab, and thanked her family and the nurses in Hollybrook Lodge for their support; “The nurses here are very kind. It’s a home from home.”

As a result of visiting restrictions in place in her home, Maura has been unable to see or touch her family in person.

She said: “I’m very very happy. I’m really happy. I’m lucky, I have an iPad so I have little chats. When I go back up now I’ll say ‘Look! I got the vaccine’, It’s lovely, they all have messages for you. I have 15 great grandchildren. The great grandchildren would be standing on their heads, they’re really funny.”

Sadly, Maura’s husband Stephen died of Covid-19 last year, and she herself was recovering from Covid-19 at the time, she was unable to attend the funeral.

“I buried my husband and I couldn’t see him. I watched it on a phone. I wanted to touch my own (family). On my husband’s card he told me that I could ‘cry and want me back or smile and think of the happy days we had’.”

Maura keeps smiling and is hopeful with the rollout of the vaccine.    

Mary Day, CEO, St James’s Hospital said: “As Ireland’s largest acute academic teaching hospital and home to Mercer’s Institute for Successful Ageing (MISA), a facility dedicated to advancing the conditions for successful ageing, it is particularly fitting that the rollout of the Covid-19 vaccine in a residential care setting took place today in St James’s Hospital’s residential care unit, Hollybrook Lodge. 

“We know that Covid-19 has been particularly challenging for older people and vaccinating our older and vulnerable population and those who care for them is our priority.

“Thanks to all the residents and staff for their support in rolling out the vaccine.”

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