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Spanish Health Minister Carolina Darias said on Thursday that the public health commission has given the go-ahead for a fourth dose (a second booster dose) of the Covid-19 vaccine to be given to Spain’s ‘entire population’.
‘We’re waiting for the arrival of new vaccines adapted to Covid-19 variants by that date, as stated in the contracts we have signed with the pharmaceutical companies,’ Darias said on La Sexta TV on Thursday.
Since the TV interview, however, the Health Ministry has clarified that a fourth dose will first be given to the vulnerable, people aged over 80, and people who live in care homes. Ministry sources have explained to Spain’s EFE news agency that the entire population will receive a fourth dose against Covid-19, but it will not be immediately. ‘First, the aforementioned groups will end, as happened with the previous three doses, and from there it will go down by age groups,’ El Diario reported.
Spain, a nation of some 47 million people, has to date fully vaccinated 93% of its population over the age of 12, one of the highest immunisation rates in the world.
The country has registered 12.5 million Covid-19 infections and 107,239 deaths since the start of the pandemic in March 2020.
Spain in March 2022 began treating Covid-19 more like an endemic illness — a regularly occurring milder disease like the flu — and moved away from the detailed tracking system that was applied when the pandemic broke.
Until now, only people over 80, those in care homes and people classified as vulnerable had been approved to have a second booster dose in Spain, which is milder than the initial two-shot vaccination given in 2021. Although Darias has said that the ‘entire population’ will be offered it, the elderly and vulnerable groups will stll be prioritised.
In April 2022, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) considered that at that time it was too early to consider a fourth dose for all age groups, but they have given the go ahead to high-risk groups.