100-year-old veterans get vaccinated: “I’m going to live a little longer”

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) – Three Rhode Island veterans all over the age of 100 years old took the final step in beating the coronavirus pandemic: they got vaccinated.

100-year-old Peter Ricci of West Warwick, 100-year-old Raymond Gannon of Pawtucket, and 105-year-old Arthur Prisco of Warwick are three of more than 700 veterans who got vaccinated at the Providence VA Medical Center’s COVID-19 Veteran Vaccination Clinic.

For 100-year-old Peter Ricci, the decision to get the vaccine was simple.

“You get the vaccine or you have the virus chase you around,” Ricci said. “Which would you rather have?”

The WWII Veteran has experienced a lot. He was a mine sweeper in Okinawa at just 23-years-old.

“When the bomb was dropped, I was 100 miles from Japan and Japan was going to be invaded,” Ricci said. “The closest I came was when a torpedo went underneath us.”

However, he says none of that compares to what he’s been through this past year.

“This is one of the hardest,” Ricci said. “It’s the hardest because you can’t see it, you can’t hear it, and you can’t smell it. Quarantine is just a sophisticated word for isolation.”

It’s the same story for 100-year-old Raymond Gannon. He says the COVID shot didn’t hurt at all and was nothing compared to the shots he got in the Navy. He got vaccinated alongside 105-year-old Arthur Prisco and says he’s looking forward to his second one.

“It’s a wonderful thing. Why is it wonderful? Because I’m going to live a little longer I think,” Gannon said.”

Both veterans say if it means they get to tack on more years, they’re all for it.

“Life has been good to me,” Gannon said. “Would I do it again? Absolutely. I’m looking for another birthday. I give a dollar each year to my grandchildren.”

“It’s wonderful to reach this age,” Ricci said. “I’m very thankful. Someone’s responsible for it of course, the man upstairs and the women in the car. My wife has taken very good care of me. Oh, and I love apples.”

For more information on vaccinations at the Providence VA Medical Center or if you think you might be eligible, visit COVID-19 vaccines at VA | Veterans Affairs.

Categories: Coronavirus, News, Providence, Rhode Island