Instead the 1.8 million doses of AstraZeneca’s recently approved COVID-19 vaccine that are set to arrive in Spain this February will be administered to healthcare workers, Spain’sgovernment has said.
Spain’s National Healthcare Committee which is made up of health experts from the central government and regional authorities announced their decision on Friday.
The decision echoes those made in France, Sweden, Germany, Belgium and Switzerland over concerns about a lack of data on the effectiveness of the vaccine for over 65s.
It means that Spain will have to readjust its original vaccine schedule which prioritized residents in care homes and those who cared for them before moving onto frontline healthcare workers and others who relied on care facilities.
The next group would have been the over-80s but as they won’t be receiving the AstraZeneca vaccine, it will be given instead to those healthcare personnel who fall outside the “frontline” category.
The next in line will then be those identified from other vulnerable groups who are below the age of 65 (or 55 if the threshold is indeed lowered).
But Fernando Simón, director of the Center for the Coordination of Health Alerts and Emergencies, assured the public that the decision wouldn’t derail the vaccination progamme.
“I believe that it is not necessary to readjust the calendars much,” he told a press conference on Thursday.
“What may happen is that two of the groups are vaccinated simultaneously and if the deliveries continue as scheduled, we should be able to meet our objectives,” he said.