When in the pre-pandemic era long lines formed around the WiZink Center it was because a big sporting event or some show was coming. However, this Friday, hundreds of people were queuing in the rain next to the old Palacio de los Deportes in Madrid to experience first-hand the “most important” event in the history of the venue.
More than 4,000 people between the ages of 60 and 65 have been summoned to receive a dose of AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine today on the first day of the WiZink Center as mass vaccination center, in a multi-storey device installed in the south wing of the multipurpose room prepared to the millimeter and in record time.
With the opening of this new mass vaccination center, the Community of Madrid already has three venues designated for this after the Wanda Metropolitano stadium and the Isabel Zendal Nurse Hospital, which have been used for this purpose for several weeks.
The WiZink Center has 16 vaccination posts in 4,500 square meters, but work is being done so that this figure can be “doubled or even tripled” if it were necessary around the 77,000 meters that the venue has, explained the Communication Director of the WiZink Center, Maria Vidal.
At the same time that the AstraZeneca doses were administered, the track and the stadium bleachers were hosting this morning the quarterfinals of the World Padel Tour within the ‘Adeslas Madrid Open’ tournament held at the WiZink Center until next Sunday.
Vidal has told Efe that next week the vaccination will be done simultaneously with matches of the Spanish Futsal Super Cup and basketball matches or with several concerts that are scheduled at the beginning of May.
This project has been “quite a challenge” that they have welcomed “with open arms” at the WiZink, but who are used to organizing large-scale events and have the support of the venue’s collaborators, explained Vidal.
The device has been assembled within a week
To carry out the vaccination, the device has been assembled within a week and actions have been undertaken such as the urgent construction of doors that did not exist or the purchase of material such as tables or chairs.
Patients arriving at the WiZink Center to be inoculated, waited in a queue in which “we have not stopped walking”, He has told Efe Nieves, a 62-year-old patient who has been “scared” when he has come to the door and has seen that cluster of people.
Subsequently, patients received a ticket with the arrival number and waited until one of the screens in the enclosure showed the number that was previously assigned to them and the vaccination post to which they had to go to get vaccinated.
“It has been very effective. I had heard that in other places there are hours of queues and here not; the truth is that I liked it very much, I was pleasantly surprised, “Nieves told EFE after receiving his dose.
Obdulio, 64, who received his first dose at the Wanda Metropolitano, has gone to the WiZink Center to receive the second and has highlighted the number of device personnel who are informing patients of what they have to do at all times.
“There are people who take care of where you have to go, what you have to take prepared, wait a very short time at all times, arrive and get vaccinated (…) The truth is that I have seen it more organized than in the Wanda “.
Víctor Escudero, a Sanitary Emergencies technician from Summa 112, told Efe that people are accepting “very well” the device that has been assembled in the old Sports Palace, which, he says, is working with “a certain fluidity” and they hope to “reach more people”.
Despite the negative reports in recent days regarding the AstraZeneca vaccine, Escudero has stressed that a greater absence “than what may be usual” of the people who have been summoned has not been noticed.
Mass vaccination at the WiZink Center will take place from Monday to Sunday in the morning and in the afternoon.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.