ALSO READ (15/3/21): Spain halts use of AstraZeneca vaccine for 15 days, following other EU states
Spain’s Health Minister Salvador Illa announced details of the government’s ‘Covid-19 Vaccination Strategy’ on Tuesday, after its approval at Monday’s cabinet meeting. It also follows on from remarks made by Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez on Sunday, that 13,000 locations across Spain would be used for Coronavirus vaccinations.
The Health Ministry is acquiring Covid-19 vaccines for Spain within the framework of the European Commission’s overall strategy. The official body that actually makes decisions about the purchase and distribution of vaccines in Spain is the ‘Agency for Medicines and Healthcare Products (AEMPS)’.
Advance purchase agreements for Covid-19 vaccines to be administered in Spain have already been signed with five pharmaceutical companies: AstraZeneca/Oxford, Sanofi-GSK, Johnson & Johnson/Janssen, Pfizer/BioNTech and Curevac. Negotiations also continue with Moderna and Novavax. The strategy document states that ‘this is a broad portfolio of vaccines that will ensure that, if the authorisation is granted, Europe and Spain will gradually have the necessary doses, at the same time, and for the entire population, so as to face this unprecedented situation.’
Spain initially plans to vaccinate 2.5 million citizens against Coronavirus from January to March 2021, with the government having established 18 groups of the population, with care home residents and their health professionals to be given top priority.
The Covid-19 vaccination strategy presented on Tuesday specifies that ‘due to the forthcoming gradual availability of vaccine doses, it is necessary to establish the order of priority of the population groups to be vaccinated based on an ethical framework where the principles of equality and dignity of rights, necessity, equity prevail’.
The plan therefore gives maximum priority to care home users and their health workers, to include centres for both elderly people and those who are disabled. These two groups will then be followed by health professionals in general. All these groups of people are planned to be vaccinated by March in the first phase of the government’s scheme.
The second phase of vaccinations aims to cover other critical groups through to June, as the number of doses available as part of the EU joint purchase scheme is expected to ‘increase progressively’.
The third phase is then expected to cover the rest of the Spanish population. Overall, there are 18 groups for the purposes of delivering the vaccine – although only the first groups detailed above have been disclosed so far.
Salvador Illa said that ‘100% of the population’ will have vaccination doses available to them by the end of 2021, but added that it would not be made obligatory. The strategy, he explained, has been worked on since mid-September, and is based on documents and recommendations from international organisations such as the European Commission, the World Health Organisation and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC). It is also ‘a single common vaccination strategy for the entire country’. Health authorities from eight regions of Spain (Andalusia, the Canary Islands, Catalonia, the Valencia region, Galicia, Madrid, Murcia and the Basque Country) have also participated in the technical group that has designed the strategy.
‘The effort that the world’s scientific community is making to achieve a safe and effective vaccine is unparalleled by any other before,’ the strategy document states. ‘Citizens should be aware that the vaccines that will eventually be used in the EU against Covid-19 will have the same levels of safety as any of those commonly used.’
You can also click here for further details (in English) of the key points of Spain’s Covid-19 Vaccination Strategy.
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