Araceli Rosario Hidalgo, a 96-year-old lady living in a residential care home in the city of Guadalajara in the region of Castilla-La Mancha, became the first person in Spain to be vaccinated against Covid-19 on Sunday. The vaccine used was from Pfizer/BioNTech and the occasion was televised by the Spanish national broadcaster RTVE.
‘Let’s see if we can get rid of this virus,’ Araceli Hidalgo said to the reporters who had gathered at the Los Olmos care home in Guadalajara, adding that she had felt ‘nothing’ from the jab. She then slowly stood up and walked away using a frame for support.
Araceli, de 96 años, primera vacunada contra el coronavirus en España: "A ver si conseguimos que el virus se vaya"
— RTVE (@rtve) December 27, 2020
Shortly afterwards, Mónica Tapias, a healthcare worker, became the second person in the country to receive the vaccine, followed by other nursing home residents.
The Los Olmos care home had been chosen to kickstart Spain’s vaccination campaign because it is located near a Pfizer storage centre, where vaccines had been brought in from Belgium on Saturday before being distributed across the country.
Tapias said, ‘It is an honour and [I feel] proud that they have thought of this centre to start vaccination.’
No Covid-19 cases have been identified so far among staff or residents. ‘It’s a great source of pride and a great satisfaction for us, we’re representing all the retirement homes in Spain,’ the director of the home, Marina Vadillo, had said on Thursday.
Spain commenced its Vaccination Strategy on Sunday after the European Medicines Agency (EMA) approved the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine last Monday, paving the way for all 27-member states to start injections. The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine had already been given some form of regulatory authorisation for emergency use in at least 15 countries, including in the UK and USA.
Spanish health minister Salvador Illa has said: ‘It will be a significant number of doses that reach our country but it will be a progressive and a weekly process. We will receive doses and distribute them among the autonomous communities, which will be the ones that cite the people who have to be vaccinated according to the priority groups established in the Vaccination Strategy.’
Illa has said that Spain will have 140 million doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine and the country ‘has all the capacities ready so that as soon as the doses arrive, the population can be immunised with all the necessary guarantees’.
Announcing Spain’s Vaccination Strategy at the end of November, it was also confirmed that the government has advance purchase agreements for Covid-19 vaccines with a total of five pharmaceutical companies: AstraZeneca/Oxford, Sanofi-GSK, Johnson & Johnson/Janssen and Curevac, in addition to Pfizer/BioNTech. Negotiations also continue with Moderna and Novavax.
The Spanish Health Ministry has released a list to summarise how it has divided the entire Spanish population into 15 groups in order to administer vaccinations.
You can also click here for further details (in English) of the key points of Spain’s Covid-19 Vaccination Strategy.
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