103-year-old Massachusetts man who lived through Spanish flu, polio outbreak gets COVID-19 vaccine


SOUTH HADLEY, Mass. (WWLP) — A 103-year-old Massachusetts man who has lived through the Spanish flu and the polio outbreak received the COVID-19 vaccine this week.

Tom McAuley, a resident at Loomis Village Retirement Home in South Hadley, said he feels great after receiving his first dose of the vaccine.

Born in 1918, he has lived through the Spanish flu and the polio outbreak. He said he remembers getting the polio vaccine when it was first developed. Now, at 103 years old, he is getting ready to get his second dose of the coronavirus vaccine.

McAuley said he encourages everyone to get the vaccine when they can and to listen to the healthcare professionals.

“You have to work by the rules and that’s what happens,” McAuley said. “People making these decisions know a lot more about this than I do, therefore I agree with their judgments.”

Loomis Communities started vaccinating their residents and staff members earlier this month.

“We are so blessed to be able to provide this for the residents and the team members who otherwise might be waiting till May or June or what have you,” said Margaret Mantono, CEO of Loomis Communities. “They’ve done the hard work upfront. They’ve been there for the residents through this whole pandemic.”

Residents at the home have had the opportunity to socialize, though while wearing masks and maintaining social distance.

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