Montevideo, May 6 (EFE).- Some 1,100 members of Uruguay’s professional soccer community will be receiving doses of a Covid-19 vaccine between Thursday and Friday at this capital’s Estadio Centenario.
The doses for that inoculation drive were provided by Chinese biopharmaceutical company Sinovac Biotech to the South American Soccer Confederation (Conmebol), which distributed them to its member countries.
Uruguayan men’s and women’s first-division players, referees and Uruguayan Soccer Association (AUF), High Performance Complex and national team officials, as well as ticket sellers and other personnel, are being immunized at a special vaccine center installed at the country’s most iconic stadium.
AUF Vice President Gaston Tealdi told Efe the initial plan was to vaccinate a total of 1,800 people, but that number was lowered to 1,100 after a survey revealed that “many people either had already been vaccinated, were scheduled to receive a dose, had already contracted the coronavirus or were under the age of 18.”
“That’s precisely what’s enabling us to (vaccinate) the second division of professional soccer and also, perhaps, the second division of women’s soccer” soon, he added.
A “very significant logistical effort” was carried out to transport and distribute the doses, according to Tealdi, who said that operation had made possible two days of “great satisfaction and great joy.”
On Thursday, players with the Uruguayan first-division clubs Boston River, Cerro, Fenix, Liverpool, Progreso, River Plate, Sud America, Montevideo Wanderers, Villa Española, Deportivo Maldonado and Rentistas were inoculated.
That leaves Nacional, Peñarol and Montevideo City Torque, three of the four Uruguyan clubs currently participating either in the Copa Libertadores or Copa Sudamericana tournaments (the first- and second-biggest competitions in South American club soccer, respectively).
Some of the players inoculated on Thursday included two former Uruguayan national team players, Fenix’s Fabian “Lolo” Estoyanoff and River Plate’s Gonzalo “Chory” Castro, while another ex-member of El Celeste, Sud America forward Sebastian “Loco” Abreu, was among the players who was not on hand to receive his dose.
The vaccine center consists of seven stations for administering the shots; the newly vaccinated individuals then must wait 15 minutes in the stands so they can be monitored for possible adverse reactions.
On April 28, Conmebol President Alejandro Dominguez witnessed the arrival of the 50,000 doses of Sinovac’s vaccine at the Carrasco International Airport outside Montevideo, calling it a “historic” occasion.
On Thursday, Dominguez congratulated Uruguay for launching this vaccination drive and thanked the country’s president, Luis Lacalle Pou, for serving as an intermediary between Conmebol and the Chinese biopharmaceutical company.
“The biggest problem is with the national sides because most of the players are abroad. That’s why Conmebol is working now to vaccinate them where they are or when they come to their respective countries,” Tealdi said.
Conmebol has distributed the 50,000 doses among its 10 countries with a view to inoculating those participating in international tournaments, including members of both national sides and club teams. EFE