Annie Lynch, the 79-year-old Dublin grandmother who became the first person in the Republic to receive the Covid-19 vaccine, is looking forward to a “turkey dinner and a pint of Carlsberg,” her daughter has said.
Shortly before 1.30pm on Tuesday, Ms Lynch received the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine in St James’s Hospital.
Ms Lynch was born in the Liberties and grew up in Inchicore, south inner-city Dublin.
She moved to Drimnagh after marrying her husband John, who was in the Army. The couple were married for over 50 years and had three children, six grandchildren and two great grandchildren.
Paula Lynch, one of her daughters, told The Irish Times her mother was someone who “loved a laugh,” and was looking forward to getting out of hospital and having a “turkey dinner and a pint of Carlsberg”.
The family were “over the moon” when they got the call on Monday informing them she would be receiving the vaccine.
“I was in the car park in SuperValu, it was lashing rain, I got out and ran around the car park; at last some good news,” her daughter said.
In the spring her husband John was admitted to hospital as the country went into a nationwide lockdown. “She couldn’t see him, we couldn’t see him. He deteriorated very badly in hospital, by the time the lockdown was over he was dying,” Paula said. He died on September 2nd, aged 87.
“With the sadness and the grief around the funeral my mam took a stroke,” her daughter said.
While receiving treatment in hospital Ms Lynch had another stroke, and only regained the ability to walk and talk following physiotherapy, she said.
Ms Lynch is currently a resident of the Mercer’s Institute for Successful Ageing in St James’s Hospital.
“She is so, so determined to get better. I miss my dad so badly, we didn’t want this to happen to my mother … As a family we have been very sad, very down,” her daughter said.
“The loneliness all the old people must be going through is heartbreaking. This is hope, the beginning of the beginning, if you know what I mean,” she said.
The hospital visiting restrictions had been very difficult on the family, “if I could live in the car park of St James’s I would,” Paula said.
At the moment her mother was on a high protein diet to regain weight lost since the stroke, so she was looking forward to a “turkey, ham and pudding” dinner, she said. She was also looking forward to a pint of Carlsberg, “as she hasn’t had one in a while”.
Ms Lynch had worked in a Lyons tea factory for over 20 years. “If you ever went up to my mammy’s house, you’d get a packet of Lyons tea, ‘there you go love’ she’d say,” her daughter said.
In a statement on Tuesday, Ms Lynch said she felt “very privileged to be the first person in Ireland to receive the vaccine”.
“Like everyone else, I have been waiting for the vaccine and I really feel like there is a bit of hope there now. It’s brilliant that it’s here,” she said.
Before she received the jab Ms Lynch was given a HSE vaccine information leaflet, and a detailed leaflet from the drug manufacturer. “Everything was explained very clearly to me beforehand,” she said.
After she received the dose she was given a vaccine report card which listed the name and batch of the vaccine she had been given.
Speaking after receiving the vaccine she told nurse Deborah Cross she “didn’t feel a thing,” before giving those looking on a thumbs-up to a round of applause.
Ahead of receiving the vaccine Ms Lynch’s biggest concern on Tuesday morning “was what colour lipstick to put on” for the cameras, her daughter said. “That’s her biggest Christmas gift, this vaccine, she did this for my Dad.”