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Araceli Hidalgo, on her hundredth birthday. SUR
First Spaniard to be vaccinated against Covid-19 turns 100 years old

First Spaniard to be vaccinated against Covid-19 turns 100 years old

Araceli Hidalgo, who lives in a nursing home in Guadalajara, said "I feel like I'm 20"

J.M.L.

Guadalajara

Wednesday, 21 February 2024, 20:21

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The first Spaniard to be vaccinated against Covid-19 has turned 100 years old. Araceli Hidalgo, from Guadix, Granada, celebrated the milestone on 20 February 1924, more than three years after she made the headlines.

Araceli still lives in the same Guadalajara nursing home where she was inoculated with the vaccine on 27 December 2020. She was enthusiastic and courageous at the time. On her centenary, this Tuesday, the nursing home organised a birthday party for her, attended by many of her relatives – she has two children, four grandchildren and three great-grandchildren – along with her sister Lola, 90, and received a bouquet of flowers sent by the regional government of Castilla-La Mancha.

"I feel like I'm 20 years old," Araceli said when asked about her feelings on turning 100. Her words were not in vain, as she is in great health. Her secret? "Living calmly, doing sport, going to the gym and not stopping and, if it comes up, going to the dance even though I can't move my feet much," Araceli said.

Her only living sister, Lola, (Araceli comes from a family of 20 siblings) was in charge of doing Araceli's make-up; she has not lost her coquetry despite her age. Lola joked, "I have less years left to reach 100," and Araceli replied, "We'll see if you make it!”

More than three years ago, the centenarian became a symbol of the fight against a virus that has claimed thousands of victims in Spain. Of that first vaccination, Araceli recalled that "everything went well, I didn't feel anything and afterwards I was fine". The director of the nursing home, Marta González, did not spare any praise for her admirable resident during the birthday party: "She encouraged vaccination and today she is a very emblematic figure of this centre and an example of how to take care of our elderly and how to invest in active ageing."

Araceli Hidalgo not only received congratulations from her relatives and workers of the residence where she has lived since 2013, the prime minister, Pedro Sánchez, also publicly congratulated her on social media, writing that she was "the visible face of the vaccination campaign and the commitment of Spanish society and ended up becoming an example to the world". The head of the Castilla-La Mancha regional government, Emiliano García-Page, also publicly congratulated Araceli on social media, recalling "her cheerful attitude and her willingness to receive the first vaccine against Covid-19 in Spain, becoming a beacon of hope".

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