99 year-old: Get the jab

99 year-old: Get the jab

13 January 2021

A 99 year-old Ballynahinch woman has become one of the oldest people in Northern Ireland to receive a Covid-19 vaccination.

It was an early birthday gift for Mrs Mona Carlisle who will turn 100 on February 12.

She received her Oxford vaccine from Dr Karen Poland from Montalto Medical Centre, Ballynahinch, on Monday afternoon.

The former shop owner proudly declared that “she didn’t feel a thing” as she urged everyone to take up the vaccine when they are offered to it.

Mrs Carlisle said that confirmation she was to get the jab came last Friday in a phone call to her son, William.

“Everything went really well. I never even felt the needle going into my arm, I didn’t feel a thing,” said the mother of five, grandmother of 14 and great-grandmother of ten children.

“I was very pleased to have got it but my family were all worried more about me getting Covid-19 than I was myself. I would encourage everyone who can get the vaccine to get it.”

Mrs Carlisle, who used to run Shaw’s grocery shop in Ballynahinch’s High Street for over 10 years, will receive her second vaccination in about six weeks’ time.

While she admitted to missing seeing her family over the last year due to the need to shelter, the stoic Mrs Carlisle laughed as she said: “Lockdown doesn’t mean any to me. I enjoy every single minute of the day that I’m living.

“But it was terrible, just terrible not seeing the grand children and great-grandchildren. I really missed seeing all the family. They are all very good to me.”

Mrs Carlisle lived independently on her own until just before last March’s lockdown when she moved into the Saintfield farm home of her daughter, Margaret. She lost her husband James 10 years ago.

When asked when she retired, Mrs Carlisle’s son-in-law John Kirk joked that “it was last year” for the hard-working and active woman.

Her daughter, Mrs Margaret Kirk, said that she and her brothers – John, Roy, William and David – were delighted that their mother had received the vaccine but that she had heeded all medical advice regarding sheltering and social distancing.

“Mummy was very sensible, she knew what she had to do and she did it. She didn’t take offence at it and just got on with it,” she said .

“It will be still a while before all of us can gather as we (the children) are all under 70 so we will wait our turn for the vaccine.”

Son William talked about the impact of the pandemic restrictions on the wider family

“We all miss getting out, we miss getting together as a family. But it’s just life and we all have to abide by the rules,” he said.

The current lockdown means that the family will not be able to celebrate Mrs Carlisle’s centenary as they would have done.

“We can’t do anything, we are not allowed,” said Mrs Kirk, “But I’m sure that she will be looking for scampi and chips.”

Regarding the secret to her long life, Mrs Carlisle replied: “I have no idea.”

Daughter Margaret added: “She’s not a complainer.”