Spain’s Health Minister Salvador Illa has said that 70% of the population will be vaccinated by the end of summer 2021, and that the country would have achieved ‘herd immunity’.
‘At the end of the summer, 70% of the population will be vaccinated and we will enter a very different stage,’ Illa said in an interview with El Publico newspaper on Sunday. Asked if this meant that Spain would achieve ‘herd immunity’, the health minister replied: ‘Yes. It is what the technicians call it, that people have immunity either because they are vaccinated or because they have had the disease. It is an already significant percentage, and although the virus continues to circulate, that almost two-thirds of the population is vaccinated is a very important advance.’
Speaking to the media on Monday following a virtual event organised by the ‘Nueva Economía Forum’, Salvador Illa also said that he hoped that the European Medicines Agency (EMA) will approve the vaccine against Covid-19 on 29 December, in order for vaccinations to begin in Spain ‘from 4 or 5 January’.
Responding to criticisms made by authorities of the regional government in Madrid, who have questioned whether they will have sufficient doses of the vaccine, Illa said, ‘There will be vaccines for everyone and there will be plenty of them.’
Illa reiterated that Spain will have 140 million doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine and the country ‘has all the capacities ready so that as soon as the doses arrive, the population can be immunised with all the necessary guarantees’.
Announcing Spain’s vaccination strategy at the end of November, it was also confirmed that the government has advance purchase agreements for Covid-19 vaccines with a total of five pharmaceutical companies: AstraZeneca/Oxford, Sanofi-GSK, Johnson & Johnson/Janssen and Curevac, in addition to Pfizer/BioNTech. Negotiations also continue with Moderna and Novavax.
The Spanish Health Ministry has also released a list to summarise how it has divided the entire Spanish population into 15 groups in order to administer vaccinations
Illa said that a vaccination programme will start in January and by the end of the summer more than two thirds of the population of 47 million should be vaccinated.
However, he warned against citizens not sticking to the restrictions and social distancing measures during the Christmas and New Year period. ‘We are living with a virus that is very contagious,’ he said. ‘The more we move and the more contacts we have, if we don’t do it with due precautions, the virus spreads.’
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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