Similar to the sun in the bright blue Monday afternoon sky, spirits soared high as those who received their initial AstraZeneca vaccination departed the surrounds of the Athlone Institute of Technology International Arena.
A feeling of elation was most evident amongst the vaccination recipients as they took time to speak with the Athlone Advertiser, noting their thoughts for the future, an aspiration of a return to a semblance of normality being uppermost in their aspirations.
Rosemount resident, Elizabeth Keenan, beamed with joy as she exited the spacious vaccination centre.
“It was an extremely efficient vaccination process and I can now look forward to the day when family members and friends can come into our home. It has been an extremely difficult year for so many, but hopefully there are better times to come,” Elizabeth commented.
Maureen and Johnny Davey, hailing from Kilbeggan, expressed their feelings of elation on Monday afternoon.
“It has been a long journey to this date, but thankfully, after we receive the second vaccination, we will be in a position to move out of our home and return to some form of normality,” Johnny stated.
Both Rosaleen Hoare and Annette Dunican from Ballymore, noted tones of hope as they discussed their thoughts for the future.
“The vaccination process was very well organised and the staff have to be thanked for their efficiency. It truly has been one horrible year, one to forget, and we both look forward to the day when we can travel and visit family members in future times,” both ladies acknowledged.
Mick Clune, who journeyed to the Athlone Institute of Technology International Arena from Delvin, detailed a “sense of relief” following his first AstraZeneca vaccination.
“When I receive the second vaccination in the coming weeks it will enable me to move around more freely,” Mick asserted.
Nuala Collentine was “delighted” to receive her initial dose of the vaccine on Monday. Hailing from Mullingar, she noted that the past 12 months had been a “tough experience”.
“I am truly delighted to have received my first vaccination today. Although I have been in a small bubble during lockdown restrictions, this past year has been tough but there is hope for the future and I look forward to freely moving around during the summer months and beyond,” Nuala stated.
Eileen Dunleavy, complete with positive mindset, was in ecstatic mood, longing for the day when would be able to hug her grandchildren once again.
Ann Heslin expressed similar sentiments - the Mullingar native had not seen her grandchild Fiadh in over a year.
“This is a great occasion. The process was swift and I want to express my gratitude to the staff involved. I have not been in a position to see my grandchild Fiadh in some time so I am longing for the day when I can embrace her,” Ann enthused.
Vincent Maguire, also of Mullingar origin, hoped for a “clean bill of health” following the vaccination.
“It has been a difficult time, the winter months were difficult, but now I can hopefully look forward to leaving the house and returning to watch GAA matches in the near future,” Vincent emphasised.
Finally, Milltownpass native, Marie McNamee, said that it was a “fanastic feeling” to receive her first vaccination.
“Like so many, I cannot wait for the day to be in the presence of close family members and friends, it has been an ordeal in the current restrictions, but hopefully, with the vaccine rollout, there are brighter and better days to come,” Marie remarked.
*As of Friday last (April 23 ), there were 1,654 vaccinations administered at the Athlone Institute of Technology International Arena.