SHE was discovered at four weeks old lying next to her bed-ridden mother, who was too weak to look after her alone after contracting Spanish flu.

Emily Lawson, from Kirkintilloch in East Dunbartonshire, was born in 1919 when the pandemic was spreading around the world and vaccines for deadly infections were decades from discovery. 

More than 50 million people died worldwide and a quarter of the British population were affected by Spanish flu, which was given its name because the first cases were reported there.

Now, more than a century later, the hardy 101-year-old was given the first dose of the vaccine that will help protect her against Covid-19.

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Mrs Lawson took the momentous day in her stride, describing the jag as, ‘just another vaccine’ after she was treated by Samantha Wheadon, a Practice Nurse from Turret Medical Centre in Kirkintilloch.  

GPs are leading on the vaccination roll-out for those aged 80 years and over. NHS Grreater Glasgow and Clyde said doctors are scheduling appointments locally after they receive supplies of the vaccine.

More than 450 vaccinators are said to be working across hospital and community settings, reaching 20,000 people every week. By February, this number is expected to rise to 80,000. 

The health board said today that all eligible care home residents across the Greater Glasgow and Clyde health board area have now been offered their first vaccination.

A total of 6,019 residents in 143 care homes have received the jag so far, which the board said represents more than  90% of all elderly care home residents within Glasgow City, Renfrewshire, East Renfrewshire, Inverclyde, West Dunbartonshire and East Dunbartonshire. 

A  small number of residents were unable to be vaccinated initially, due to issues such as ill health. 

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Dr Linda De Caestecker, Director for Public Health at NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde said: “We have had a very high uptake of the vaccine so far with thousands of eligible staff and care home residents vaccinated already and it’s fantastic to see the community rollout begin.  

“Our teams are working extremely hard to get as many people possible vaccinated as quickly as possible during this time. 
“However, the rollout does not mean we can let our guard down. 

“Our hospitals are extremely busy with Covid-19 admissions and our staff are working tirelessly to look after both Covid and non-Covid patients.   

“We would urge everyone to continue following the rules to help minimise the spread of the virus.”  

The Spanish Flu pandemic has been described as one of the greatest medical disasters of the 20th century and it affected every continent.

As is happened during the first world war newspapers were censored and Germany, the United States, Britain and France all had media blackouts on news that might lower morale. so although there were flu cases elsewhere, it was the Spanish cases that made the headlines.

One of the first casualties was the King of Spain.

It is thought that in the UK, the virus was spread by soldiers returning home from the trenches in northern France.

Young adults between 20 and 30 years old were particularly affected and the disease struck and progressed quickly in these cases. 

Prime Minister David Lloyd George contracted it but survived. Some other notable survivors included the cartoonist Walt Disney, US President Woodrow Wilson, activist Mahatma Gandhi, actress Greta Garbo, the painter Edvard Munch and Kaiser Willhelm II of Germany.

By the end of pandemic, only one region in the world had not reported an outbreak: an isolated island called Marajo, located in Brazil’s Amazon River Delta.