Huge vaccine centre set up in Atletico Madrid stadium

Atletico Madrid's Wanda stadium on the eastern side of the Spanish capital was transformed into a huge vaccination centre on Thursday, where firemen, police and civil protection officers got their first jabs against the coronavirus.

Huge vaccine centre set up in Atletico Madrid stadium
Image: Pierre-Philippe Marcou / AFP

Around 1,000 people were invited on Thursday, February 25th, to be immunised with the AstraZeneca vaccine at the 68,000-seat venue.

“I will continue to be careful and keep my distance, always wear a mask, but at least I will be more relaxed,” 53-year-old police officer Maria Teresa Teriza-Hernandez told AFP.

The makeshift centre in the home ground of the current leaders of the Spanish league will have the capacity to vaccinate between 350 and 400 people an hour once it is fully up and running.

“The goal is to vaccinate as many people as possible. This is a mass vaccination” to reach all firefighters and police officers, the head of the vaccination centre, Victor Escudero, said.

Vaccinations are also being carried out at neighbourhood public health centres.

Those being inoculated at the stadium are “professionals on the front lines” of the fight against the pandemic, the head of the regional government of Madrid, Isabel Diaz Ayuso, said during a visit to the stadium. “We therefore consider it necessary to give them the vaccine as soon as possible,” she added.

A police officer getting vaccinated at Madrid's Atletico stadium. Image: Pierre-Philippe Marcou / AFP

In addition to police, firefighters and other civil protection workers, teachers from public and private schools will also soon be vaccinated at Wanda and the new Isabel Zendal Hospital which opened in December.

The venue was built in record time as a surge of infections was straining Spain's public health system.

But it has sparked controversy because it cost more than twice the original budget, with critics dismissing it as an extravagant vanity project by Madrid's regional government.

So far, some 1.2 million people have been vaccinated in Spain since the start of the immunisation campaign which began just after Christmas, with care home residents first in line along with their carers.

The government aims to have 70 percent of Spain's population of around 47 million vaccinated by the end of summer.

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Why Madrid is now the easiest place in Spain for under-35s to buy their first home

Buying a home is a near-impossible task for many young people in Spain in a climate of low wages, high unemployment, inflation and rising house prices. However, a new programme introduced in Madrid will make a huge difference for first-time buyers under the age of 35.

Why Madrid is now the easiest place in Spain for under-35s to buy their first home

Many young people in Spain want to be able to buy a property and may be in the position to make regular mortgage payments, but can’t in fact secure one because they can’t afford a big enough deposit. 

According to the Emancipation Observatory of the Spanish Youth Council (CJE), 59.2 percent in Spain rent, while only 17.4 percent own their own property and pay a mortgage. Data shows that most Spaniards aren’t able to buy a property until they are 41 years old. 

The region of Madrid announced on Wednesday, July 20th the introduction of the ‘My First Home’ programme to help those under the age of 35 buy a property by granting a mortgage of up to 95 percent on their first home.

The project will be managed by the Department of the Environment, Housing and Agriculture and has been approved by the regional Madrid government which has promised a total investment of €18 million. This is 50 percent more than was initially planned. 

The objective of the project is to help young people from Madrid, who despite having a good income “do not have enough savings to be able to obtain a mortgage” the local government stated.

The Madrid government, in collaboration with other financial institutions “will guarantee” to help those who do not have the financial means to pay the necessary deposit for a property themselves, they continued. 

Why Madrid is now the easiest place in Spain for under-35s to buy a home

The programme will be open to all those under the age of 35 who have been legally residents in Madrid for two years. Photo: Felipe Pelaquim/Unsplash

How will it work?

The banks, along with the government of Madrid, will grant mortgage loans for amounts greater than 80 percent and up to 95 percent of the value of the property, provided that the purchase price doesn’t exceed €390,000.

Who is eligible?

The programme will be open to all those under the age of 35 who are legally resident in Madrid.

They must have also lived in the region continuously for the two years leading up to their application. Applicants also can’t already own a property anywhere else in Spain.

How and when can young people apply?

The government of Madrid has said that applications for the programme will be open “after this summer” when all the details have been finalised and agreed upon.

No details have been released yet on exactly how or where to apply.

This aid programme is included in Madrid’s Birth Strategy 2022/26, in which €4.8 billion has been earmarked for the promotion and protection of maternity and paternity benefits, as well as family reconciliation.

This new project is another way that any future mothers under the age of 35 will be able to get a property. Those who are not in the position to buy can also get help renting a home through Madrid’s Vive Plan in which they can benefit from rental prices 40 percent below the average.

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