"Health card in hand, take off your jacket and you can go in"
The pavilion four of the Fira de Barcelona vaccinates 2,000 people a day
BarcelonaThere is no clinical study to confirm it, but one of the immediate effects of the vaccine is happiness. "You can't even believe it, boy," confirms Ferran Perez, who can't even feel the jab anymore, only two minutes after receiving it. Neither the little light that there is in this pavilion of the Fira de Barcelona, nor his glasses, nor the mask can hide his face of happiness. "I were meant to be in the Maldives right now.... But we'll leave as soon as my wife and I get our second dose, no doubt about it!" he continues. Ferran, like the 2,000 people who pass through this vaccination centre every day, still has to wait fifteen minutes before leaving - just in case he suffers some other reaction to the vaccine, apart from the joy - but it's hard for him to sit still, with the desire he has to go out and experience everything that has been stolen from him. "You know what happens, I'm already 70 years old and I'm starting to think about death. I've been working all my life and thinking about retirement, and now I find myself like this, unable to travel and seeing my grandchildren from the balcony...", argues this resident of Masnou. "But now we have to catch up however we can," he concludes. He already has the tickets to fly away with his wife once they have received the second dose.
Dora has come with her granddaughter Ariadna. "I didn't want to get vaccinated, you know?" she says. "But my children forced me... And now it's done." At first glance, it might seem that the vaccine has not yet had an effect on Dora, but in some cases (although there are no studies to back this up either) it seems that the joy can take a while. After a while of chatting, however, things change and she admits that she is excited: "Well, today is Mother's Day... and my children have already given me the present." Ariadna, 13, looks at her proudly. Her grandfather died in January and the memory still upsets them. They couldn't even bury him as he deserved. "They only let thirteen of us attend," Ariadna recalls. For the family, these months have been very hard. "My son was afraid that I could be infected and made us keep a distance of one and a half meters.... Luckily, when he wasn't looking, we hugged each other, right, Ariadna?" And she continues to look at her proudly.
A few metres away from where the vaccinated are waiting, there are those who have just arrived. "Health card in hand, take off your jacket and you can go in", Ricard keeps repeating. The patients, all between 70 and 79, get in line and in less than two minutes it is their turn to enter one of the boxes where the nurses administer vaccines incessantly. "Next," calls Carmen Franco, 57, from inside a box. "Do you have an allergy to any medication? Do you have a problem with me giving you the jab on your left arm?" she asks. And with the "no, no, no problem" they already have the vaccine in their bodies. Carmen also explains that the vaccine she has given them is from Pfizer and that in three weeks they will call them to give them the second dose. "This rhythm is amazing," she explains to ARA in a short pause. Carmen has also been injecting in the Casernes Health Centre in Sant Andreu and says that there they administer one every thirteen seconds. "We have come to inject 1,300 in one afternoon," she says proudly, and calls: "Next".
Since Friday, in this pavilion of Fira, which is so big and ugly that it looks like a parking lot, about 2,000 people a day are vaccinated. From next week, when many more vaccines are expected to arrive in Catalonia, the Department of Health plans to set up more boxes and further streamline the vaccination campaign and, little by little, bring joy back to all Catalans.