Spain to start vaccination on Jan 5 and predicts herd immunity by summer

Spain to start vaccination on Jan 5 and predicts herd immunity by summer
Photo: AFP
Spain will begin vaccinating people against the coronavirus as soon as January 4th or 5th, its health minister Salvador Illa said on Monday.

Presuming that the European Medicines Agency approves use of the vaccine by December 29th then authorities will begin the programme of mass vaccination in early January, Illa said.

Spain has unveiled a plan which sees vaccines given to elderly residents and staff in nursing homes first, then health workers and other vulnerable people.

It will then gradually roll out free vaccinations to the whole population in order of priority groups.

Illa said in an interview over the weekend that Spain hoped to achieve herd immunity from COVID-19 by the end of summer  2021.

He predicted that by the end of the summer more than two thirds of the population of 47 million should be vaccinated.

“In Europe, even if it is not the final end, we will be in a very different stage. That is why I think we are at the beginning of the end with this time horizon that I say, from five to six months,” he said in an interview published by Publico newspaper on Sunday.

Asked if this meant that Spain would achieve herd immunity, Illa replied: “Yes. It is what the technicians call that, that people have immunity either because they are vaccinated or because they have had the disease.”

But he has consistently warned Spaniards against complacency over the Christmas period cautioning people to maintain safety measures to prevent spread of the disease.

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