• 2021.01.22
  • The Vaccine Arrives in Spain
The US pharmaceutical manufacturer Pfizer has been jointly developing a vaccine against COVID-19 with the German company BioNTech with the European production base at a Pfizer plant in Puurs. The plant is about a 30-minute drive from Brussels, the capital of Belgium, and although it is a small town with a population of 26,000, Puurs is also 25 kilometers from Antwerp, Belgium’s second port city, giving it good access that makes it popular as a dormitory town, and is well known among enthusiasts as the town where the famous beer Duvel (means Devil) is brewed.

COVID-19 Vaccine

The first shipment of the vaccine from the plant to Spain arrived in Irun, a city on the border with France, on Christmas night. The Spanish security police (Guardia Civil) then took over the shipment and transported it under its escort to barracks in the northwestern city of Lerma, where it was stored temporarily. The shipment later arrived at the warehouse of ID Logistics, the company in charge of Pfizer’s logistics division, in Guadalajara province, next to the province of Madrid, at 7:30 on the 26th morning. It was distributed to all 17 autonomous communities in Spain. This shipment only contained 9,720 doses as it was a shipment with symbolic meaning, intended for vaccinations to start around Europe at the same time, on December 27, but from the next day, Monday, December 28, 350,000 doses were shipped every week for 12 weeks, which, by simple calculation, makes for vaccinations for about 2,100,000 people.

Arrival of the vaccine

The first vaccinations in Spain were at Los Olmos nursing home run by Guadalajara province, in Guadalajara city, where the provincial government is based, and which is only 10 kilometers from the warehouse I mentioned. While it is a short distance, the vaccine was escorted by four police cars dispatched by the national police, city police, and security police.

So, at 9 on the morning of the 27th, the first momentous vaccination was given in the home to Araceli Hidalgo, aged 96, the oldest person in the home. The second was given to Mónica Tapias, who is involved in Araceli’s care as a nursing assistant and at 48 years is the youngest of the staff. The home really is full of old hands, don’t you think? There are currently 70 residents with 120 staff and of them 60 residents and 118 staff opted for the vaccine. Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, 13 people have already died at the home, so everyone was putting a lot of hope in this vaccine.

Araceli and Mónica receiving their vaccinations

This is where I make a fool of myself. Rumors started flying that there would be panic buying, similar to the mask panic buying in the early days of the pandemic, with people saying "we’ve got the vaccine but can’t inject it," because when a large amount of vaccine is supplied all at once, there will be shortages of the syringes indispensable when giving the vaccination, and I foolishly rushed to the pharmacy and bought six syringes, two for the two of us, and one spare each, for 3 euros (about 375 yen, 50 cents each).

However, now that vaccinations have started, it seems there really are plenty of syringes in stock, so I am currently searching for ways to use the six stockpiled syringes. Refilling the ink cartridges on my inkjet printer; transferring liquids such as lotion, alcohol, and soy sauce to a small, portable containers; or injecting jus into gyoza (dumplings) fillings that have become a little dry to make them juicy, and so on... I really am very sorry to have to tell you such an idiotic story so early in the New Year.

The six panic-bought syringes


  • Susumu Yamada
  • AgeTiger( TORA )
  • GenderMale
  • JobSpanish and Japanese Translation

It’s been almost 37 years since I received a residence permit and work permit from the Spanish government and paid my first tax and social insurance premiums. Now that I’m at that age where I will soon go and register at the senior human resources center, I’m grateful to have this opportunity to introduce you all to this country that has taken care of me these many years.

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