The walker appears first and then she. It has been two and a quarter hours since his name has crept into salons, offices and mobiles throughout Spain .
Araceli Rosario Hidalgo, 96 years old, the first Spanish citizen to receive the vaccine from Pfizer and BioNTech, makes a visor with her right hand to cover the sun from her face and raises her arm high to say hello from one of the terraces of the Los Olmos residence, where do you live.
She is flanked by two other women: Mónica Tapias, the nursing assistant at the center and the second person to be vaccinated, and Carmen Carboné, the nurse who gave those first two doses at 9:05 this Sunday, December 27.
“Their names will be a Trivial question,” says a man at the doors of the residence just as TVE, the only authorized channel, broadcasts live the moment in which Araceli crosses himself while Carboné prepares the injection.
“It’s a little prick that you won’t notice, okay?” The nurse warns before inserting the needle into his left arm: “What do you notice, a little itchy?” “A little bit, but nothing, nothing,” replies Araceli. Just 15 seconds.
“That’s it, you were the first, the sanitary is over.” “Thank God, she finishes off.”
Shortly after, sitting after the injection, she says live: “Let’s see if we can get the virus to go away.” This totally autonomous woman was born in Guadix, in Granada, in 1924, although she has been registered for “many, many years in Azuqueca de Henares”.
In that municipality to the southeast of Guadalajara he “made life”: “Housewife, children, family.” She tells it on the phone, while Tapias holds it for her, after being vaccinated and “having breakfast.” In Los Olmos she has lived “so comfortable and so calm” since 2013, in Los Olmos she does “gymnastics, crochet and watches TV”: “I move as much as I can, I like to do things”.
Araceli laughs a lot when she says that she does “sport”. Somewhat less when he tells that a few dozen kilometers from there, in Madrid, his two children, his four grandchildren and his great-granddaughter live.
She has not hugged them for months – “since all this was closed because of this thing, I am looking forward to seeing them” – but she knows that they have just seen her become the first person to be vaccinated.
“I did well, right? I’ve been very serene ”, she laughs again. She says she was impressed by being chosen: “I thought ‘why me?’, But I was excited and everything was fine.”
Standing next to Araceli is Mónica Tapias, she has been working in the residence for a decade. She gets on the phone, calmer than a while before: “Thankfully, I was very nervous thinking that all of Spain was watching me.
I think I did not think of anything special beyond that it was a pride to have been chosen, that it was our center ”. For Tapias, 48 years old, the memory goes to spring, to the “hard, very hard months” in which those doors were closed :
“Because the residents have died alone, because it was sad, because there were children who all came the days to see their parents and suddenly they couldn’t ”.
Tapias remembers the companions who were infected, the father of one of them, who died between those walls where 120 people work and 70 residents live. “They become your second family and that makes it more difficult to go through all this,” adds Tapias. The vaccine?
“Nothing, like any other. I wish 100% of the population were vaccinated, I know it is not possible ”, he laments,“ but we do not want to suffer the consequences again, nor the third wave that is now expected after Christmas ”. Suddenly he is silent, and cries: “All I want is for all this to happen so that I can kiss my parents, I have not done it since March.”
“For that there is less,” says Carmen Carboné, 30 years in the occupational risk prevention service at the Guadalajara university hospital. She was born in Cuenca in 1960, she never imagined that one day she would be the health care provider that would give the first vaccine in Spain, they told her on Wednesday at 2:00 p.m.
Nor would he ever experience a pandemic. Also on the phone, he says that this Sunday “may” they go down in history, but above all they will “older people and health, in general.” By what they drag .
The mother of the covid vaccine: “In summer we will probably be able to return to normal life”
Seeing the vials for the first time, “so tiny and so precious,” touched her. “I thought: how much life is inside that vial and how many problems it can solve for us in the coming months .” While vaccinating Araceli, “I only thought about her.”
Then, in the “important thing that no one is afraid, which is one more vaccine, that people remember that what we have experienced is much worse than any vaccination.”
The three will continue with the day later: Tapias and Carboné will continue working. Araceli will “rest” that “it is Sunday.” By the end of the day, 89.23% of the elderly and 98.46% of the workforce had been vaccinated at that center.
Waiting for the second dose, within 21 days, and for a week later to reach its maximum effectiveness. Araceli, the last one on the phone, says goodbye: “Well, I’d be there.”