World, Europe

Madrid begins vaccinating in massive football stadium

Atletico Madrid’s home turf hopes to be site of 10,000 life-saving jabs per day

Alyssa McMurtry   | 25.02.2021
Madrid begins vaccinating in massive football stadium A medical staff injects a dose of AstraZeneca vaccine against coronavirus (Covid-19) during a mass vaccination at Wanda Metropolitan Stadium in Madrid, Spain on February 25, 2021. ( Burak Akbulut - Anadolu Agency )

OVIEDO, Spain

As Spain moves to ramp up its vaccination campaign, Madrid inaugurated the massive Wanda Metropolitano football stadium as a new icon in the fight against COVID-19 on Thursday.

The stadium, which holds nearly 70,000 people, is home to the Atletico Madrid football club. It has been set up to vaccinate seven days a week, morning and evening, with a goal of injecting up to 10,000 shots per day in April.

On Thursday, as nurses vaccinated essential workers under 55 years old with the AstraZeneca vaccine, goals were more modest. Just 1,000 people were scheduled to receive the vaccination.

“We’ll have to go vaccine by vaccine,” said Madrid's regional president, Isabel Diaz Ayuso, during the inauguration, making reference to “game by game" -- the mantra of Atletico coach Diego Simeone.

Meanwhile, Spain’s Health Minister was in the northern region of Galicia, visiting another hopeful site related to COVID-19 vaccines. Carolina Darias had a tour of the factory set to manufacture Novavax doses, which she said is on track to be approved by April once it completes its phase three clinical trial.

“This would give Spain a tremendous push forward,” she said.

So far, Spain has administered 3.4 million jabs, with 1.2 million people of the country’s 47 million having received the full two doses. In total, the country has received 4.5 million doses from Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna and AstraZeneca.

On Thursday, the country saw its third-consecutive day with fewer than 10,000 new coronavirus infections.

The Health Ministry reported 9,568 new coronavirus cases and 345 more deaths, bringing the official death toll to 68,813.

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