104-year-old Iowa woman receives COVID-19 vaccine decades after surviving 1918 flu pandemic


A 104-year-old Iowa woman who was a girl during the 1918 flu pandemic officially received her first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, according to local reports.

Velma McElderry received her first dose of the vaccine on Saturday, marking what KETV-TV reported was the first time she left her home in a year, as she remained isolated from friends and family to protect herself from the new illness.

McElderry’s daughter Sue Peters brought her to the date. The Council Bluffs woman told the news station the jab “wasn’t that bad.”

“It will be such a relief once I can get that second shot and start seeing the family and they can walk right into the house and not have to worry about standing in the doorway or staying six feet away,” Peters said.

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Speaking separately to the Sioux City Journal, Peters said his mother has been keeping up with coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic since isolation and has been eager to receive the vaccine.

“You read a lot about the pandemic,” Peters said. “She talks about what is happening, how many people are getting the vaccine and how many people have died. She has been very interested in that since she started.

McElderry, who has three children of his own as well as five grandchildren and four great-grandchildren, was 2 years old when the flu pandemic took over the world in 1918. Although his family was saved, Peters told the news station that he remembers his mother told stories. from that time growing up.

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“She talked a bit about that, how her mother would talk about the devastation and how it could wipe out entire families,” Peters said, adding that her mother was probably more protected living in a small mining town called Olmitz at the time.

“She’s longevity. She’s a cop. She’s amazing,” Peters added of his mother.

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