A 73-year-old woman living at The Grand Rehabilitation and Nursing is now one of the first to get the COVID-19 vaccination, and years ago as a child, she was among the first to receive the polio vaccine.

Irene Mentel was among the first to be vaccinated for Covid-19 at The Grand in Queenswhere she's a resident. In 1954, she was one of three students in her class to receive the
polio vaccine, as it was still controversial. Now she is proud to be receiving the Covid-19 vaccine and hopes to be an inspiration to other nursing home residents who may be nervous.

Irene was born in Queens, New York but was living in Providence, Rhode Island when she received the Polio vaccine at age 6. She was deemed a “Polio Pioneer”, being given a certificate from the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis, which is now known as the  March of Dimes.

Submitted by the Grand

Irene says she has hope for a better future and can’t wait to hug her daughter, Sue once again. When asked to write down who she got vaccinated for, she immediately jotted down her grandson’s name: Mathew; both of whom live in Forest Hills, Queens.


The Grand Rehabilitation and Nursing at Queens is a 179-bed landmark facility, and the home of The Walter Strauss Stroke Center, within the community of Whitestone, Queens. This is where nurturing guest services and progressive healthcare live side by side.

Courtesy of The Grand

After getting the vaccination, Mentel had a heartfelt tablet conversation with her daughter and grandchild as they celebrated the vaccine and the future normalcy it's expected to provide. Health officials believe the vaccine will be the game changer in 2021 for people in assisted living and nursing care residences.


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