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Long lines form outside Fira Barcelona walk-in vaccination site

Health minister says health pass system in restaurants and other establishments is "functioning normally"


05 December 2021 03:19 PM



Long lines formed outside the Fira Barcelona walk-in vaccination site in the Catalan capital on Sunday morning as more people have been rushing to get jabs days after the use of Covid-19 health passes was extended to bars, restaurants, gyms and care homes.

Before 9 am, which is when the center opens, the line made its way all the way from the site on Avinguda Rius i Taulet to Plaça Espanya square. Similar scenes were seen on Saturday at La Maquinista, the other walk-in vaccination site in Barcelona.

Health care professionals came out two hours later to inform the people who were still in line that there were no more doses available as they had already administered the 1,500 doses set aside for that morning.

For now, Fira Barcelona takes walk-ins from 9 am to noon on Tuesdays, as well as 4 pm to 7 pm on Thursdays and 9 am to noon on Sundays, when only 1,500 doses are available.

There are 500 doses available for people without appointments at La Maquinista, in the Sant Andreu neighborhood, on Wednesdays and Saturdays from 4 pm to 7 pm. 

Health department officials advise people to book appointments online given the soaring demand for vaccines, but some of those who tried their luck on Sunday morning complained they were not readily available.

"I've tried to get an appointment. I've been trying all week long but the website was down and I wasn't able to," a man called Àlex told the Catalan News Agency.   

Health pass system "functioning normally"

According to health minister Josep Maria Argimon, the health pass system is "functioning normally" in the establishments it became mandatory last Friday.

Argimon also stated that he believed there would not be a "significant incidence" of the Omicron variant during the sixth wave of the pandemic in Catalonia. 

Despite this, he said, the number of Covid-19 cases will continue to grow, something the extension of the health pass will not be able to halt. Health officials are not, however, considering further restrictions at the moment. 

Filling the Sink podcast

Dr. Magda Campins – chair of Catalonia's Covid-19 Scientific Advisory Committee and head of Preventive Medicine and Epidemiology at Vall d'Hebron Hospital in Barcelona – on the Omicron variant, booster shots, and why Christmas office parties should be avoided.

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  • The line outside the Fira Barcelona vaccination site went all the way to Plaça Espanya on December 5, 2021 (by Àlex Recolons)

  • The line outside the Fira Barcelona vaccination site went all the way to Plaça Espanya on December 5, 2021 (by Àlex Recolons)