MADRID — Worried that a coronavirus outbreak could derail its chances at the 2020 European Championship, Spain sent in the army on Friday to vaccinate the national team three days before its opening match at the tournament.
Medics from Spain’s Armed Forces administered the shots at the team’s training facility near Madrid.
Los jugadores de la @SeFutbol reciben su vacuna contra el Covid-19 en la Ciudad del Fútbol.
Miembros de la Unidad de Seguridad del Hospital Central de la Defensa se han desplazado a Las Rozas para administrar los viales indicados.
— Selección Española de Fútbol (@SeFutbol) June 11, 2021
“We have had the privilege and the good fortune that the government decided to vaccinate us,” said Spain midfielder Thiago, who was infected with COVID-19 last year. “While this is great news for us, I hope that we don’t have any adverse effects before the match.”
Spain will play Sweden in Seville on Monday in its opening Euro 2020 match.
Some people who receive vaccines can experience fever and tiredness, but many do not have any side effects.
The government allowed the soccer team to be vaccinated ahead of schedule in Spain, which is maintaining a strict order based on age. Currently, no one under 40 years old is eligible for a shot.
Spain has also given special permission for its athletes heading to the Tokyo Olympics to receive vaccinations against the virus.
Spain’s preparations for Europe’s biggest national soccer tournament were thrown off this week after captain Sergio Busquets and defender Diego Llorente both tested positive.
Llorente’s subsequent tests have come back negative so his initial positive result may have been erroneous. The team said he may be able to return soon.
Busquets tested positive on Sunday and is under a minimum 10-day isolation. But the team said he is feeling fine and that it hopes he will be back during the tournament.