BEDFORD (CBS) — A 96-year-old World War II veteran living in Massachusetts was the first VA patient in the country to get the coronavirus vaccine on Monday. Margaret Klessens, a resident at the VA nursing home in Bedford, received the vaccine just after noon.
The VA Bedford Healthcare System tweeted that it was a history-making moment.
World War II Veteran Margaret Klessens, aged 96, is the first VA patient nationwide to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, at VA Bedford Healthcare System, Dec. 14, 2020, 12:07 p.m. #makinghistory #COVIDVaccine pic.twitter.com/6XW7VAbbPH
— VA Bedford Healthcare System 🩺 (@VABedfordHCS) December 14, 2020
“We look forward to quickly administering more vaccinations across VA to protect more #Veterans,” Veterans Affairs Sec. Robert Wilkie tweeted.
“She was very happy,” Klessens’s daughter Sally told WBZ-TV. “I asked her, ‘do you feel alright?’ She said yes.”
“I was surprised, I was proud of her though. She’s quite a courageous lady.”
According to a past article in The Boston Globe, Klessens is a former Somerville resident who enlisted in the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps in 1943. The newspaper reported that she went through basic training and worked a clerical job at a base in Georgia until the end of the war.
Bedford is one of 37 VA sites chosen for the initial distribution of the vaccine.
Housekeeping staffer Andrew Miller also got the shot in Bedford as well. “It was fine, it just felt like a regular flu shot. Just like a little pinch and it was fine,” he said.
Also on Monday, Boston Medical Center was the first hospital in the state to get a delivery of the coronavirus vaccine. Other hospitals in Massachusetts are expected to receive their shipments early this week as well and start vaccinating front line workers.