Spain’s Health Ministry announced on Tuesday afternoon that the country’s Public Health Commission had authorised the use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, usually referred in the Spanish press as la vacuna Janssen, to its under 60s.
Prior to this decision, the Johnson & Johnson vaccine had only been assigned to those aged 70 to 79 years of age.
People aged 50-59 as well as those who fall into vulnerable groups due to health and other conditions expected (all ages) will be the first new groups to receive these inoculations.
“Since this vaccine only requires one dose, it has important advantages for its use from the point of view of feasibility and efficiency of health resources for certain groups that are difficult to reach and vaccinate, either because they’re not in the health system (for example, homeless people), or due to the need to send healthcare personnel to private homes, or because they are groups that can’t go the health centre due to other reasons (certain work activities, such as workers at sea, NGO workers who travel to high-risk areas), ” Spanish health ministry sources explained.
Spanish health authorities will then work down and continue administering the one-dose vaccine to other specific groups even if they are younger, although which ones exactly have not yet been confirmed.
People aged 50 to 59 are currently receiving the Pfizer vaccine in most regions, so those who have received the first dose already will not be given the J&J inoculation.
People under 60 who received the first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine will not be included in this part of Spain’s vaccine campaign either, and will have to wait until the end of May for Spain’s Public Health Commission to decide if they are included in the J&J group.
The announcement marks the seventh change to Spain’s vaccine strategy, given the stops and starts which have been caused by side-effect concerns of the AstraZeneca and J&J vaccines.
Last April it was decided that the Janssen/J&J vaccine would only be for the 70 to 79 age group after some very rare blood clot cases affected six women in the United States between the ages of 18 and 48.
Spain is yet to announce which vaccines it will give to its population aged 40 to 49.