‘It Was Easy:' 101-Year-Old Carlsbad Woman Among Oldest in County to Receive Vaccine

Betty Tenney, 101, has lived through the polio epidemics of 1940s and 1950s and doesn't recall similar isolation

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As San Diego County works to open new vaccination super stations and so-called PODS (points of distribution), many at-risk seniors are now receiving their first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.

This week, seniors living at the La Costa Glen retirement community in Carlsbad received shots. Among them, 101-year old Betty Tenney.

“It was easy," Tenney said. "It went quickly, and then we had to sit there for 15 minutes to be sure we didn’t have a reaction. And that was very social --that was the biggest social we had."

Being able to surround herself with other residents was important for Tenney, who, like most seniors, has been living in relative isolation during the pandemic in order to protect herself from infection.

“It’s been terrible," Tenney said. "It’s so lonely. Day and night, all by myself, and I’m not good talking to myself."

Born in April 1919, Tenney will turn 102 in April. As it turns out, she was born during a flu pandemic and has also lived through the polio epidemics of the 1940s and 1950s.

“I don’t remember being isolated against anybody or wearing a mask or anything,” Tenney said.

To pass the time, Tenney said she reads and does jigsaw puzzles. She also watches a lot of television.

“Which is horrible,” said Tenny with a laugh. “All they do is talk about the pandemic, and I don’t want to hear any more about it."

But Tenney has paid close attention to the world of politics and is pleased Joe Biden is the new president. In fact, she actually met Biden and Pres. Barrack Obama after she and her late husband were invited to the White House.

“Biden will get us back in the good graces of other countries," Tenney said. "He’s going to do everything he can to get us unified. He’s a very nice man."

Tenney’s late husband, Les, also has an incredible story: An Army tank commander who survived the horrific Bataan Death March during World War II, he spent his later years working to push Japanese authorities to apologize for their country’s war atrocities. Les Tenney passed away in 2017 at age 96.

“He was just a very good American," Betty said of her late husband. "He loved the country, and he was willing to do anything for it."

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