Romanian woman, 104, says vaccine "only way" to end pandemic

BUCHAREST — A 104-year-old Romanian woman has received her second COVID-19 vaccination shot, becoming the oldest person in Romania’s capital of Bucharest to be fully inoculated against the disease.

Accompanied by relatives who helped her into Bucharest’s Children’s Palace, Zoea Baltag, born in 1916, welcomed her second dose of the Pfizer vaccine on Sunday and declared it the only way to combat the pandemic.

“A vaccine is the only way to get rid of this virus,” she said.

The pandemic had forced the centenarian — whose granddaughter is a doctor and convinced her to get vaccinated — to spend a year physically distancing from her close relatives,

“I missed very much my great-grandson, I want to see him growing up. I’ve not been able to be with my grandchildren because I stayed isolated from them until now in order to not risk catching the virus. Everyone in the family is vaccinated now we can now spend the holidays together,” she said.

Baltag, who was born two years before the Spanish Flu pandemic, appeared sharp of mind and did not report any side effects after receiving her first Pfizer shot.

Asked if she would like to send a message to other Romanians, Baltag replied: “It’s time to get vaccinated, this is the only way.”

Local authorities presented her with a plaque to commemorate her vaccination.

Like many countries in Europe, Romania is now battling a third surge of the virus. On Sunday the country hit a record number of patients being treated in intensive care units.

Romania — a country of more than 19 million — has administered more than 2.8 million vaccine doses and seen 23,114 virus-related deaths.

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