GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — A 90-year-old Air Force veteran was featured in Governor Gretchen Whitmer's press conference after being among the first to receive the COVID-19 vaccine for the general public.
Under the state's plan, those 65 and older are now able to receive the vaccine, even if they do not have any pre-existing conditions or live in an assisted living facility.
90-year-old Fred Peeples learned last week he was eligible. On Monday, he received his first injection through Spectrum Health.
For years, he has lived a healthy lifestyle by going to the gym five days a week. He says with the new vaccine, he is looking forward to being able to work out and visit with some of his friends he sees at the Grand Rapids YMCA.
"Oh my god, There are no words for me that explain how happy I am now that I have received my first injection," said Fred, who said he had no side effects from the shot.
His excitement is one of the reasons Gov. Whitmer featured him during his press conference on Wednesday.
"He said when he found out he could get the vaccine, he was so excited that he quote, 'about flipped'," said Gov. Whimter. "I'm telling this story because I hope every Michigander feels that excited about getting this vaccine.”
Peeples hopes his story will prompt others to also receive a vaccine so "then everybody can live a normal life and everybody will be happy."
Peeples hopes the vaccine will protect him from COVID in the future, and hopes he can live another 20 years.
"So I'm looking at another 20 years," Peeples said. "Yeah, my dad was 100."
Peeples says he will continue wearing a mask and social distancing, per CDC guidance. Researchers are still trying to determine if those who have received the vaccine can carry the virus and transmit it to others.
Spectrum Health expects to provide 21,000 COVID-19 vaccinations to the public throughout this week alone. It is available by appointment only.
To schedule an appointment through Spectrum Health or learn if you are eligible, click HERE.