Regional health authorities in Spain have said that they are running out of supplies of Covid-19 vaccines. They have warned of postponing giving jabs to health workers and care home residents because of delays in the deliveries from pharmaceutical groups.
Catalonia’s public health chief Josep Maria Argimon said on Wednesday that Catalonia will have used up all its available vaccines by this Friday, when the ‘refrigerators will be empty’. Argimon said this will mean that 10,000 people who have already received the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine will not be able to receive the second dose within the 21-day timeframe that it should be administered. However, he said that these people will receive the second dose before the maximum recommended 42 days since their first jab, adding that ‘in theory, this should not be a problem’. Guidelines approved by the EU indicate that the second dose can be administered between 21 to 42 days after the first jab.
Argimon ruled out changing the vaccination strategy or starting to administer jabs to people aged over 80. ‘We don’t have vaccines,’ he said, adding that ‘all these elements add more uncertainty to the [overall] vaccination scheme’.
In addition to delays in deliveries of the Pfizer vaccine, Argimon said that Catalonia had also had a delay in receiving the Moderna vaccine – the only other one currently approved by the EU. Further doses were supposed to arrive this week but have been pushed back until Monday.
Madrid regional vice president Ignacio Aguado also said on Wednesday that the capital is halting new vaccinations in order to ensure that those waiting for a second jab can receive it. Aguado also said the current pace of vaccinations will mean it is impossible to meet the central government’s target of inoculating 70% of Spain’s 47 million population by summer.
Spain, along with the rest of the European Union, has suffered vaccination delays since Pfizer announced two weeks ago that it would have a temporary reduction in deliveries so it could upgrade its plant in Puurs, Belgium.
On Tuesday, the European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen insisted that the pharmaceutical groups producing Covid-19 vaccines ‘must deliver’, as tensions mount between the EU and the groups that have delayed deliveries.
‘Europe invested billions to help develop the world’s first Covid-19 vaccines … and now the companies must deliver,’ said von der Leyen in a video address to the online World Economic Forum.
Latest figures (up to 26 Jan) show that Spain has now received 1,346,100 doses of Covid-19 vaccines (from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna), and that 1,291,216 jabs have been administered. This is 95.9% of total vaccines received. 123,697 people have now received a second jab. In a separate report, we have published the amount of vaccines received and administered for each region in Spain. Latest: Covid-19 Vaccinations in Spain
Click here for all previous reports on: Coronavirus in Spain