At 106, woman among earliest vaccine recipients in Brazil
On Wednesday, Zélia de Carvalho Morley, a 106-year old woman, took a COVID-19 shot in Brazil. She is one of the few, old enough to recall an earlier viral pandemic that swept the world a century ago. Born in Rio de Janeiro in 1914, Morley was a girl when the Spanish flu killed millions around the world between 1918-1920, when no vaccines were available.
It's in the hands of God: Morley
"The whole Brazil caught Spanish Flu. Too many people died. I think this vaccine is going to be very good. It's in the hands of God," Morley said. The government's immunization campaign in Brazil started on Tuesday with the distribution of the Chinese-developed SinoVac vaccine.
Morley's parents caught the flu a century ago
Paulo Cesar Cunha Fabiano, Morley's doctor, who has been working at Vovo House retirement home for nearly four decades, said, Morley told him her parents got the flu nearly a century ago. "When she was 6-7 years old, her parents told her that people were dying in the streets. Back then, there were no antibiotics or medication. People died like flies," Cunha said.
'No more fear of passing the virus to the elderly'
Meanwhile, several employees at Vovo House suffered from COVID-19, and one had to be intubated. Though none of the residents have tested positive so far, the fear of infecting them was a burden for workers. "Now at least we're going to have some tranquility. We workers are no longer going to worry about passing the illness to the elderly. This is huge," Cunha said.
Brazil has registered second-highest number of deaths due to pandemic
With more than 210,000 dead due to the coronavirus pandemic, Latin America's largest nation has suffered the second-highest number of deaths in the world behind the United States, according to Johns Hopkins University's database. The state of Rio de Janeiro has reported 487,000 COVID-19 cases.