105-year-old Spanish flu survivor first to get COVID vaccine at Longmeadow senior facility

Hampden County

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LONGMEADOW, Mass. (WWLP) – A 105-year-old resident of the Glenmeadow assisted living community in Longmeadow who survived the 1918 influenza pandemic will be first to receive a COVID-19 vaccine at the facility Saturday. 

Thelma Brewster is the oldest resident at Glenmeadow and will be first in line, along with 150 other residents and staff who will be vaccinated Saturday afternoon starting at 12:30 p.m.  

The senior living facility has partnered with CVS for “priority in-house distribution for residents and staff during Phase One vaccinations,” a spokeswoman said in a news release to 22News. 

Thelma, who celebrated her 105th birthday in June 2020, was just three-years-old when the Spanish flu hit in 1918.

She was in New York City at the time, where the outbreak killed about 30,000 people. In the US, the 1918 pandemic took nearly 700,000 lives and at least 50 million worldwide. 

Thelma has been a Glenmeadow resident since 2001 and is described as “an extremely active member,” who over the years, has been a volunteer, and helped residents at the facility with various activities like reading out loud to them. 

Thelma is one of five centenarian residents at the facility who will be vaccinated Saturday.  

She enjoys crafts and getting her hair done once a week. 

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