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Vac-and-roll Showband legend Paddy Cole speaks of relief at getting Covid vaccine after losing close pals to virus

One of Ireland's best-loved entertainers, Paddy, who is 81, revealed that he has lost several old pals to the deadly virus in the last year.

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Paddy Cole gets the vaccine.

Paddy Cole gets the vaccine.

Paddy Cole gets the vaccine.

Legendary entertainer Paddy Cole has spoken of his "huge relief" after getting his first Covid-19 vaccine shot.

One of Ireland's best-loved entertainers, Paddy, who is 81, revealed that he has lost several old pals to the deadly virus in the last year.

"I lost a few close friends, fellas I played golf with.

"One of my pals went into the hospital on a Monday suffering from Covid and was dead the next morning. It was that rapid, and he was a big, strong man. It's frightening, so I thought this day would never come," he told the Sunday World.

"I've been taking precautions by wearing a mask, washing my hands and social distancing, but getting the vaccine is definitely peace of mind. It's a huge relief and I would encourage everyone to take it when they get the call.

"I had no side effects at all after getting the shot. I was talking to a friend of mine around my own age who got it a week ago and I asked him if he had any problems afterwards.

"He said, 'I have so many f**kin' aches and pains as it is I didn't notice any difference.' He's a gas character."

Sax player and singer Cole, known as 'King of the Swingers' for his signature tune, is now looking forward to returning to the stage whenever restrictions are lifted. "I've had the vac, now I'm ready to rock 'n' roll again and there'll be no stopping me," he joked.

Despite being an octogenarian, Paddy, who hung out with Elvis Presley in Las Vegas during the '70s when he was performing with Brendan Bowyer and The Big 8, enjoys excellent health and was an in-demand entertainer until the pandemic shut down live events.

A native of Castleblaney and living in Dublin, sprightly Paddy has spent lockdown presenting his hugely popular Sunday morning show on Sunshine radio from his home.

Cole says that he has no time for the anti-vaxxers, anti-mask and anti-lockdown activists.

"I thought Dolly Parton put it all in context this week when she got her shot,"

Paddy says. "I loved her video where she sang to the tune of her hit, Joelene: 'Vaccine, vaccine, vaccine, vaccine, I'm begging of you, please don't hesitate. Vaccine, vaccine, vaccine, vaccine, because once you're dead, then that's a bit too late.'

"And she's right. I was looking forward to getting the vaccination. When I arrived at the doctor's practice I had to wait outside. I had the same feeling I get before going on stage at a concert when you're waiting for the other people to finish so that you can run out and do your spot. I was mad to get in and I couldn't stand still.

"I was one of 60 people at my GP's practice who got it that day, and the people I met were all as relieved as I was. They were thanking Doctor David and the nurses profusely and there was no negativity at all.

"Everybody was delighted to have got the jab and, like me, were all looking forward to the end of March when we get the second jab.

"The nurse said, 'when you get the second vaccination you'll have an over 90 per cent chance of not getting the Covid.' I said, 'well, that's very good odds'.

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Paddy Cole chatting with Dr Donal Kelly at his Donnybrook surgery

Paddy Cole chatting with Dr Donal Kelly at his Donnybrook surgery

Paddy Cole chatting with Dr Donal Kelly at his Donnybrook surgery

"It's shocking to see scenes like the demonstration on Grafton Street and the Limerick street party. I know people are frustrated and they're up to high doh, but they should just hang in and do the right thing.

"I know it's hard on young people and I have the utmost sympathy for them. I have grandchildren and one of them, Sadie, turned 18 during the week and it's tough that she can't have a celebration. But people of our age are also losing very valuable time, because we haven't got much of it left.

"They need to hang in there because this virus is a killer. Those students in Limerick that were having that rave up of a party, many of them will go home for Mother's Day and they don't realise that maybe they're bringing the Covid home to their family."

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