MADRID (Reuters) – A boisterous line of families snaked through the corridors of Madrid’s Infanta Sofia hospital on Wednesday as hundreds of keen parents sought to get their children vaccinated on the day Spain opened up COVID-19 shots for five- to 11-year-olds.
Many parents said they woke up early to book an appointment before Christmas holidays. The hospital expects to give out more than 1,000 shots to kids every day until Jan. 9.
“It was about time,” said Ana Cardenete, a 38-year-old nursing technician at the hospital shepherding her two children, a niece and a nephew through the chaotic queue.
She was unconcerned about side effects from Pfizer’s recently rolled out pediatric vaccine and said it made sense to inoculate young children, who now have the highest infection rate in Spain.
“We are honestly much calmer now, both from a health perspective and also in terms of school, because being vaccinated will help with the academic side,” she said.
Her son Leo, 10, marched triumphantly into the cubicle and confidently rolled up his sleeves.
“Have you injected me then?” he asked jokingly as a nurse administered the shot.
“The good thing is that now I have some protection from COVID, at least for a while,” he said.
Spain was among half a dozen European Union countries that launched vaccinations for children aged 5-11 on Wednesday amid soaring infections and fears about the rapid spread of the new Omicron variant of the coronavirus.
(Editing by Andrei Khalip and Mark Heinrich)