UPDATE: How is Spain’s vaccine drive going?

UPDATE: How is Spain’s vaccine drive going?
Image: JORGE GUERRERO / AFP
Amid delays and setbacks due to vaccine supply issues, the good news is that seven Spanish regions will this week start to vaccinate over 80s in the general population.

Andalusia, Aragón, Murcia, the Canary Islands, Cantabria, Catalonia and Valencia have all announced that they will now start vaccinating the oldest members of society.  

So far, Spain has been concentrating on vaccinating priority groups, which includes residents in care homes and those who work there, healthcare workers and those who need full time carers, but who do not reside in institutions.

Other regions are still in the process of vaccinating these priority groups, but both Galicia and Castilla-La Mancha say that they will also be ready to start inoculating the over 80s by next week.

In Valencia, over 90s will be given priority and in Galicia, a random selection has designated the first vaccinations for the over 80s will be for those whose surname begins with the letter ‘H’.

Spain’s over 80s are to receive the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines, while the AstraZeneca vaccine will be reserved for other key workers under 55s, such as teachers, law enforcement officers, firefighters and members of the armed forces, who will be the next priority groups. Healthcare professionals not working in hospitals will also be included in this group, such as pharmacists, physiotherapists, home assistance carers.

Because of the shortage of Moderna vaccines however, Spain will manufacture four of the existing Covid-19 vaccines on home ground, a move government officials believe will speed up the country's inoculation campaign.

The Spanish Health Ministry has said that they expect 80% of over 80s will have been vaccinated by the end of March.

Spain is expecting to receive four million vaccine doses this month, with larger shipments due in March.

Regions have also been preparing for the large-scale vaccine rollout by designating special vaccination centres. In Madrid, Atletico’s stadium has been confirmed as a mass vaccination centre, while Andalusia and Murcia also have plans to convert sporting venues and convention centres.

Catalonia's public health secretary has also put forward the idea of mass vaccination centres inside landmarks such as and Gaudi's Sagrada Família and Barça's Camp Nou.

Spain has a target of vaccinating 70 percent of its population by summer.

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