UAE Covid vaccine: 81-year-old granny takes the jab, says life is too short

UAE Covid vaccine: 81-year-old granny takes the jab, says life is too short

Filomena Maguit Castillo got the Chinese Sinopharm jab in Abu Dhabi.

An 81-year-old Filipina grandma has done her bit to fight the pandemic by taking the Sinopharm Covid-19 vaccine in Abu Dhabi on Saturday.

Filomena Maguit Castillo, who does cha-cha-cha dance moves to stay fit amid the pandemic, is now on a mission to inspire everyone to take the jab.

“Covid-19 made me realise how short life is. Things can change very quickly. I was waiting for the results of the Phase 3 clinical trials (of the Sinopharm vaccine).

“I have been following the news bulletins, and they all say that the vaccine is safe. So, I trust this is the time to take it. It is good for everybody’s health,” the grandma told Khaleej Times, as she effortlessly darted from the hospital’s consultation room to take the first dose of the vaccination.

“I have been in Abu Dhabi for 10 years now. I have three children and I stay with one of them. I have four grandchildren. They are all living in the Philippines. They visit me once in a while,” she said at the NMC Specialty Hospital in Abu Dhabi.

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Secret to fitness: 30 minutes of dance

Filomena had planned to travel to the Philippines in June, but the pandemic scrapped those plans. And then the granny, who loves the outdoors, was forced to comply with the Stay Home directives to stay safe from Covid.

She has steered herself through the virus scare with elan and great discipline. “I kept myself healthy. I eat a nutritious diet. I take all the required medicines on time.”

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She never let the infection get the better of her. And there is a secret exercise, which has ensured a positive frame of mind for her — dancing for 30 minutes. She converted one of the rooms into a dance room.

“I do my exercises. I dance in my room. I put the cha-cha music on and dance to the tune until I get tired. So, even when I cannot go out for my walk, I remain fit with my exercise in my house. I have made the best out of staying indoors. I do little house chores. I cook whatever fancies me,” she chuckled.

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‘Want to see my grandchild graduate’

Filomena now has a purpose in life for which she is keeping herself disease-free. She wishes to see her granddaughter graduate from a medical school in the Philippines.

“The vaccination will remove the perils of Covid-19. I want to see my grandchild graduate from a medical school next year. So, I have been taking care of myself very well and staying healthy. This vaccination is one way of doing that.”

She urged residents to take the vaccination without fail.

“Young and old, everyone should be very careful about their health … Begin with a proper vaccination. We can pray that this pandemic will be past us soon,” she added.

Meanwhile, Michael Brenden Davis, Chief Executive Officer, NMC Healthcare, is glad that 81-year-old Filomena took the vaccination.

“Our immune system wanes as we get older, and it becomes more difficult to mount an effective immune response to common germs that younger people can easily expel. It is well-known that older adults are at a much higher risk of severe Covid-19, so it is critical that our senior citizens get protected with the vaccine at the earliest,” Davis added.

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Ashwani Kumar

I am a newspaperman from the emirate of Abu Dhabi. A journalist at heart. I get my stories from the streets. A south Indian born in the Hindi heartland, I easily connect with people from different nationalities and cultures. I am calm like a monk, sensitive and very patient reporter. On the ground, I cover a range of topics related to community, health, embassy, tourism, transport, business and sports. I will go out on a leg to do what’s right and stand by what I believe in.



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