“We have decided to temporarily suspend (use of the AstraZeneca vaccine) as a precaution for at least the next two weeks,” Spanish Health Minister Carolina Darias told reporters on Monday, following similar moves by France, Germany and Italy.
The Spanish government has chosen to wait until the European Medicines Agency (EMA) issues a ruling on whether there is a link between the vaccine and thrombosis cases.
Spanish authorities claim that the temporary suspension will not affect the country’s vaccine calendar, but there is evidence to suggest that a rollout that appeared to be gathering pace does face a setback now as a result of the AstraZeneca hold up.
The following stats explain where Spain stands in its vaccination campaign and whether the object of vaccinating 70 percent by the end of the summer is less achievable now.
- As of March 16th, Spain’s 17 regions had so far administered 5.7 million doses.
- A total of 1.7 million people have been fully vaccinated after receiving both doses, making up only 3.6 percent of Spain’s population.
- According to new Spanish Health Ministry data , 932,704 Covid-19 vaccines were administered from March 8th to 14th, 304,705 of which were AstraZeneca inoculations.
- On average, 30,000 to 40,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine were being administered on a daily basis in Spain before the suspension.
- As a result of the temporary AstraZeneca suspension, Spain’s vaccine rollout could slow down by 33 percent for the next fortnight using last week’s rate of inoculation as a measure.
- The agreed 15-day wait for the vaccine to be put on hold, will mean Spain will administer 400,000 to 500,000 fewer Covid-19 vaccine doses over that period.
- Spain had administered 939,534 AstraZeneca doses out of the 1.7 million it has received, meaning that around 760,000 are piled up and waiting to be administered. This also means there are almost 940,000 people in Spain that don’t know at this point what will happen with their second dose.
- The Spanish government was aiming to vaccinate 70 percent of its population by the end of the summer. But prior to the AstraZeneca suspension, Spain would only have been able to reach that figure (equalling 32.9 million people) by November if it vaccinated at its fastest daily speed so far – 240,000 inoculations in one day, achieved on March 5th. In other words, it would take 250 days to vaccinate 70 percent of the population if things go according to plan.
- The silver lining is that the newly approved Jannsen Covid-19 vaccine is scheduled to arrive in Spain in mid-April. The latest EU estimates are that 200 million doses of this inoculation will be distributed throughout the bloc throughout 2021, 20 million of which will correspond to Spain. This could ensure that despite a drop in the rate of inoculation in Spain for what remains of March, the country’s vaccine campaign could be bolstered again very soon.