According to the latest figures released by the Spanish health ministry, some 33,376,693 people have been completely vaccinated, or 70.3 percent of the population.
“70 percent of Spain’s population is now fully vaccinated,” Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez tweeted as the figures were released, thanking the country’s national health service.
In an earlier speech, he said “more than 90 percent of the over 40s” were fully vaccinated while “more than 70 percent of those in the 20-29 and the 12-19 age groups” had already had at least one dose of the vaccine.
When the vaccination campaign began at the end of December, the government said that if all went to plan, “around 70 percent” of the population would be fully vaccinated by summer 2021.
In April, Sanchez gave a more specific timeline, saying the aim was to have reached that figure by the end of August.
Thanks to the population’s unshakable confidence in the national health system and the vaccine, Spain was able to carry out a rapid vaccination campaign with little sign of dissent nor any debate over its necessity.
Within the European Union, only three other countries have a higher percentage of fully-vaccinated residents — Malta with 80 percent, Demark, which has close to 72 percent and Belgium with just over 70 percent, according to vaccination statistics compiled by AFP.
On Tuesday, the EU said it had reached its objective of having 70 percent of adults within the block fully vaccinated.
Before the emergence of the more contagious Delta variant, experts had said they believed herd immunity would be achieved when 70 percent of the population was vaccinated.
But in March, an article in Nature magazine said the belief in achieving herd immunity was losing traction.
“Most estimates had placed the threshold at 60-70 percent of the population gaining immunity, either through vaccinations or past exposure to the virus.
But as the pandemic enters its second year, the thinking has begun to shift,” it said.
Following a new wave of infections during the summer due to the Delta variant, Spain is once again beginning to see infections falling.
According to the latest figures published on Wednesday, Spain registered 6,818 new cases and 132 deaths over the past 24 hours, raising its total number of infections to 4,861,883 and its overall death toll to 84,472.