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96-year-old is first Spaniard vaccinated for COVID-19

A 96-year-old living in a care home in central Spain became the first person in the country to be vaccinated against COVID-19 on Sunday, in an event broadcast by national television.

She felt “nothing” from the shot, Araceli Rosario Hidalgo Sanchez said with a smile after being injected.

With her short white hair, the pensioner living in the Los Olmos retirement home in Guadalajara got up slowly after pulling on her black jacket and walked off using a frame for support.

Carer Monica Tapias followed as the second Spaniard to receive the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.

“Araceli and Monica represent a new step full of hope today,” Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez tweeted.

The Los Olmos home was picked to kick off the country’s inoculation campaign because it sits near a Pfizer storage depot, where vaccines were delivered from Belgium Saturday ahead of nationwide distribution.

No cases of COVID-19 have so far been detected among the 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,” director Marina Vadillo said Thursday.

After the European Medicines Agency (EMA) approved the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine last Monday, the way is open for injections across the 27-member bloc.

Spain aims to vaccinate up to 20 million people by June, with an initial target of 2.5 million by the end of February.

People at elevated risk or very exposed like care home residents and medical staff will be first in line.

Under EU deals, the country is lined up to receive 140 million doses, enough to vaccinate 80 million people—almost twice the country’s population.

Extra doses will go to “nearby countries that might need them”, the health ministry said earlier this month.

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