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COVID-19

Five regions in Spain announce dates to open Covid vaccines for people in their 30s

Five regions in Spain, including Valencia, Andalusia and Catalonia announced new dates for when they will be vaccinating those in their 30s against Covid-19.

Five regions in Spain announce dates to open Covid vaccines for people in their 30s
Five regions in Spain announce dates to open Covid vaccines for people in their 30s. Photo: LLUIS GENE / AFP

While it is expected that most of Spain’s autonomous regions (comunidades autónomas) will begin vaccinating those in their 40s during the month of June, four regions have gone further and have announced dates for the inoculation of those in their 30s too.

The first region to announce the immunisation of the 30 to 39-year-old group was Castilla-La Mancha, whose president Emiliano García-Page, was optimistic and specified that the vaccination of this group could start in the last week of June.

The region of Valencia have also said that they would begin to vaccinate people between 30 and 40 years old in July. President of the Generalitat, Ximo Puig confirmed this during a speech in the regional courts. It is also expected that the inoculation of those under 40 in the region will start from June 17th.

Those in these age groups hoping to get vaccinated in Valencia must make sure they register with their local health centre and apply for a SIP card. If you’re not registered with the public system and have private healthcare instead, the Valencian authorities have said that you still need to register at your local health centre and will be given a provisional health card to cover the period of vaccination. 

READ MORE: What foreigners in Spain’s Valencia region need to know about getting the Covid vaccine

In Catalonia, the deputy director-general of Health Promotion, Carmen Cabezas said in an interview with Rac1 last week that those under 40 “could begin to be vaccinated in about 3 or 4 weeks” after having already started those in the age bracket of 40 to 49. She also added that the call could be “more generalised – from 18 to 39 years old”.

Those in Catalonia who already have their padrón certificate or are registered and have their CAP cards can apply online here. 

READ MORE: What residents in Catalonia need to know about getting the Covid vaccine

In Extremadura, the second vice president and councilor of Health and Social Services of the Board, José María Vergeles has said that it could be possible “to begin vaccinating those in the age group of 39 to 30 in June”, according to statements collected by Europa Press.

More recently, Andalusia has also announced dates for vaccinating the younger age groups. The Councilor for Health and Families of the Board, Jesús Aguirre has confirmed that on July 7th the inoculation for those under the age of 40 will begin, once the population between 41 and 59 years old has been completed, during the month of June.

To register for the vaccine in Andalusia please follow this link. More information on the vaccine campaign can be found here.

READ MORE: Andalusia’s foreigners will get the vaccine, but how should they register? 

Spain has so far given 26.1 million vaccines with 8.8 million fully vaccinated. 94.8 percent of all citizens over the age of 60 have received at least one jab.

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COVID-19

Spain rules out EU’s advice on compulsory Covid-19 vaccination 

Spain’s Health Ministry said Thursday there will be no mandatory vaccination in the country following the European Commission’s advice to Member States to “think about it” and Germany’s announcement that it will make vaccines compulsory in February.

Spain rules out EU's advice on compulsory Covid-19 vaccination 
A Spanish man being vaccinated poses with a custom-made T-shirt showing Spain's chief epidimiologist Fernando Simón striking a 'Dirty Harry/Clint Eastwood' pose over the words "What part of keep a two-metre distance don't you understand?' Photo: José Jordan

Spain’s Health Minister Carolina Darias on Thursday told journalists Covid-19 vaccines will continue to be voluntary in Spain given the “very high awareness of the population” with regard to the benefits of vaccination.

This follows the words of European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen on Thursday, urging Member States to “think about mandatory vaccination” as more cases of the Omicron variant are detected across Europe. 

READ ALSO: Is Spain proving facts rather than force can convince the unvaccinated?

“I can understand that countries with low vaccine coverage are contemplating this and that Von der Leyen is considering opening up a debate, but in our country the situation is absolutely different,” Darias said at the press conference following her meeting with Spain’s Interterritorial Health Council.

According to the national health minister,  this was also “the general belief” of regional health leaders of each of Spain’s 17 autonomous communities she had just been in discussion with over Christmas Covid measures. 

READ MORE: Spain rules out new restrictions against Omicron variant

Almost 80 percent of Spain’s total population is fully vaccinated against Covid-19, a figure which is around 10 percent higher if looking at those who are eligible for the vaccine (over 12s). 

It has the highest vaccination rate among Europe’s most populous countries.

Germany announced tough new restrictions on Thursday in a bid to contain its fourth wave of Covid-19 aimed largely at the country’s unvaccinated people, with outgoing Chancellor Angela Merkel speaking in favour of compulsory vaccinations, which the German parliament is due to vote on soon.

Austria has also already said it will make Covid-19 vaccines compulsory next February, Belgium is also considering it and Greece on Tuesday said it will make vaccination obligatory for those over 60.

But for Spain, strict Covid-19 vaccination rules have never been on the table, having said from the start that getting the Covid-19 jabs was voluntary. 

There’s also a huge legal implication to imposing such a rule which Spanish courts are unlikely to look on favourably. 

Stricter Covid restrictions and the country’s two states of alarm, the first resulting in a full national lockdown from March to May 2020, have both been deemed unconstitutional by Spain’s Constitutional Court. 

READ ALSO: Could Spain lock down its unvaccinated or make Covid vaccines compulsory?

The Covid-19 health pass to access indoor public spaces was also until recently consistently rejected by regional high courts for breaching fundamental rights, although judges have changed their stance favouring this Covid certificate over old Covid-19 restrictions that affect the whole population.

MAP: Which regions in Spain now require a Covid health pass for daily affairs?

“In Spain what we have to do is to continue vaccinating as we have done until now” Darias added. 

“Spaniards understand that vaccines are not only a right, they are an obligation because we protect others with them”.

What Spanish health authorities are still considering is whether to vaccinate their 5 to 11 year olds after the go-ahead from the European Medicines Agency, with regions such as Madrid claiming they will start vaccinating their young children in December despite there being no official confirmation from Spain’s Vaccine Committee yet.

READ MORE: Will Spain soon vaccinate its children under 12?

Spain’s infection rate continues to rise day by day, jumping 17 points up to 234 cases per 100,000 people on Thursday. There are now also five confirmed cases of the Omicron variant in the country, one through community transmission.

Hospital bed occupancy with Covid patients has also risen slightly nationwide to 3.3 percent, as has ICU Covid occupancy which now stands at 8.4 percent, but the Spanish government insists these figures are “almost three times lower” than during previous waves of the coronavirus pandemic.

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