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VACCINE

People in Spain with prior health conditions to receive Covid-19 vaccine next

Health authorities announced on Thursday March 11th that the next group of people to receive their Covid-19 vaccine will be those in high-risk groups due to prior health issues, regardless of age.

Vaccine
Photo: Cristina Quicler/AFP

People who are considered high risk for Covid because of ongoing health problems will receive the vaccine at the same time as the 70 to 79-year-olds.

These will include people who have had stem cell and organ transplants, those on organ donation waiting lists, those with cancer, and those people with Down’s syndrome who are over the age of 40.

It will also include those suffering from hematological (blood) and oncohematological (lymphoma, leukemia etc.) diseases, those on dialysis and anyone undergoing chemotherapy or immunotherapy.

Many autonomous communities are still in the process of vaccinating the over 80s, but when they are finished, those in the high-risk group, as well as the 70-79-year-olds will be next.

Alongside the elderly and healthcare workers who have been vaccinated with the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines, Spain has also been vaccinating its key workers with the AstraZeneca vaccine. These include those under the ages of 55 working in police and fire departments, pharmacists, and teachers.

READ ALSO: Spain’s Covid-19 vaccine calendar: When will I get it?

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TRAVEL NEWS

Covid face mask rule on flights in Europe set to be eased

The mandatory EU-wide mask requirement for air travel is set to be dropped from Monday, May 16th, but airlines may still require passengers to wear masks on some or all flights

Covid face mask rule on flights in Europe set to be eased

Europe-wide facemask rules on flights are set to be ditched as early as next week in light of new recommendations from health and air safety experts.

The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) dropped recommendations for mandatory mask-wearing in airports and during flights in updated Covid-19 safety measures for travel issued on Wednesday, May 11th.

The new rules are expected to be rolled out from Monday, May 16th, but airlines may still continue to require the wearing of masks on some or all of flights. And the updated health safety measures still say that wearing a face mask remains one of the best ways to protect against the transmission of the virus.

The joint EASA/ECDC statement reminded travellers that masks may still be required on flights to destinations in certain countries that still require the wearing of masks on public transport and in transport hubs.

It also recommends that vulnerable passengers should continue to wear a face mask regardless of the rules, ideally an FFP2/N95/KN95 type mask which offers a higher level of protection than a standard surgical mask.

“From next week, face masks will no longer need to be mandatory in air travel in all cases, broadly aligning with the changing requirements of national authorities across Europe for public transport,” EASA executive director Patrick Ky said in the statement. 

“For passengers and air crews, this is a big step forward in the normalisation of air travel. Passengers should however behave responsibly and respect the choices of others around them. And a passenger who is coughing and sneezing should strongly consider wearing a face mask, for the reassurance of those seated nearby.”  

ECDC director Andrea Ammon added: “The development and continuous updates to the Aviation Health Safety Protocol in light of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic have given travellers and aviation personnel better knowledge of the risks of transmission of SARS-CoV-2 and its variants. 

“While risks do remain, we have seen that non-pharmaceutical interventions and vaccines have allowed our lives to begin to return to normal. 

“While mandatory mask-wearing in all situations is no longer recommended, it is important to be mindful that together with physical distancing and good hand hygiene it is one of the best methods of reducing transmission. 

“The rules and requirements of departure and destination states should be respected and applied consistently, and travel operators should take care to inform passengers of any required measures in a timely manner.”

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