That was the upbeat greeting from 93-year-old Garryowen woman Patricia Lewin as she emerged from her doctor’s surgery on Tuesday morning after receiving her first dose of the Pfizer BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine.

The sprightly history graduate took another deep breath of spring air and smiled, “it’s nice to be a part of history”.

She was one of the first of a group of over 85s to receive the vaccine at Dr Ronan Ryder’s surgery at the Old Windmill Medical Centre on Lower Gerald Griffin Street.

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Encouraging others to get the vaccine, Ms Lewin said: “Oh gosh, yes, I don’t think anyone should avoid it. I get a bit enraged when I see people creating protests about it.

“I think they must be people who are only waiting to protest about something.”

Dr Ryder said that all 130 of his patients aged over 85, would be vaccinated on the day.

“Every patient we approached were absolutely delighted. They all want to be vaccinated. Nobody has any hesitation coming, and nobody has declined a vaccination,” Dr Ryder explained.

“We are delighted to be involved because this is the essence of general practice, and hopefully the whole population will be vaccinated as quickly as possible, so that we can all get back to normality,” he added.

Ms Lewin, who is due to turn 94 in June, remarked that living alone under lockdown has been lonely, after her husband Jerry died 13 years ago at the age of 87.

With no children or grandchildren to worry about, it has been neighbours and friends, as well as family in the UK, who have been helping maintain crucial links with the outside world from her home in Corbally where she now lives.

A penchant for “Clive James and detective stories” has helped pass the time during the months of lockdown.

“As well as that, I have a DVD player. Last week there was a night when I really wanted a bit of comfort, when I was really down, so I got out Laurence Olivier in ‘Henry V’ and played him on my DVD, and you know he was so wonderful, and Shakespeare of course, that’s what I do,” she said.

Once the country comes out of lockdown and international borders are reopened, this Limerick lady plans a “Ryanair flight to Kent to see my sister and my niece, who happens to be getting her vaccine today in Canterbury town”.

From there, she hopes to revisit Shakespeare’s birthplace Stratford-upon-Avon, where herself and her late husband had travelled in happier times.

“Perhaps I’ll go to a posh hotel and see a play. Isn’t it what you would want for the rest of your life”, she goes on.

Final question: Does she regard the vaccine as a life-saver?

Her response somes with a nod and a wink: “Oh I do. Mind you, I have a good bit saved, haven’t I”.