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COVID-19

Spain to begin producing first Spanish Covid-19 vaccine in October

The Spanish-made vaccine against Covid-19, created by pharmaceutical company HIPRA, could begin to be produced this October.

Spain to begin producing first Spanish Covid-19 vaccine in October
Spanish-made vaccine could be produced by October. Photo: Pau BARRENA / AFP

The news was announced in a recent press conference by the Minister of Science and Innovation, Diana Morant, who said that “we could have a Spanish vaccine in early 2022”. 

In August, it was announced that Spain’s medicines agency had approved the first round of clinical trials on humans for the new vaccine.  

READ ALSO: Government approves human trials for made-in-Spain Covid vaccine

During the press conference, Morant indicated that so far “everything is going very well” in the trials. 

She said “it will be a very good vaccine” to help fight the virus, since “it has been designed with different variants in mind and has had very good results against them so far”.  

The new vaccine has been created by the pharmaceutical company HIPRA, a leading company in the veterinary sector, which has been converted into producing medicines and vaccines for humans to help alleviate the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The HIPRA vaccine isn’t based on mRNA technology such at the Pfizer and the Moderna or the more traditional vaccine technologies that were used by the AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) vaccines, instead, it uses recombinant protein technology.

So far, scientists have designed it against the Alpha and Beta variants, but reports have suggested that they could easily use the same technology against the Delta variant too, as it is already showing “good results for all variants”.

In addition to HIPRA, there is another promising Spanish Covid-19 vaccine on the horizon, revealed Morant.

This one is being created by CSIC, but is so far still in the preclinical phase.

Morant explained that Spain continues to make its own commitment to research against Covid-19 and indicated that the vaccination plan in Spain “has been a great success”.

“The public believes in science and wanted to be vaccinated against Covid-19”, she said.

HIPRA, which is based in the Catalan city of Girona, said it could produce up to 400 million doses of the vaccine in 2022 and 1.2 billion in 2023, if the jab is approved.

READ ALSO: Who still hasn’t been vaccinated against Covid-19 in Spain?

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COVID-19 RULES

Catalonia to give automatic five-day sick leave to people with Covid symptoms

The Catalan Health Ministry has introduced a new way of asking for sick leave from work for those with Covid-19 symptoms. The leave will automatically be given for five days, without the need to present a positive test.

Catalonia to give automatic five-day sick leave to people with Covid symptoms

Catalan Health Service Director Gemma Craywickel, along with the Catalan Public Health Secretary Carmen Cabezas, announced the move during a press conference on Tuesday.

Workers with Covid symptoms can now ask for sick leave from their job through the Meva Salut website, app or via the appointment website here, without the need to present a positive antigen or PCR test. The new service has been available since Tuesday, July 5th.

All that is needed is to log on with a CIP number and password or digital certificate and click on ‘altres servis’ (other services), followed by ‘Programar visites d’atenció primària’, where you usually make an appointment. 

Those who apply will automatically be given sick leave for the next five days, which will be confirmed via text message or e-mail.

If symptoms persist longer than five days, authorities say you should contact your local health centre to ask for the leave to be extended.

The move was introduced in a bid to take the pressure off local health services who attended 105,024 patients in the last week, 16 percent more than during the previous week.

Around 9.07 percent of people who visited hospitals in the region on Monday July 4th -15,817 patients – had symptoms compatible with Covid-19.

In addition, within the last four weeks, Catalan health services have seen 85 percent more patients with acute respiratory illnesses, thought to be a result of Covid-19 infections.

“The measure aims to free up resources for people who really them,” explained Craywinckel.

“It’s a way of simplifying administrative procedures. We already know what the symptoms are, so there is no need for the patient to explain to us face-to-face or over the phone,” she continued.

The number of Covid-19 infections in Catalonia has risen by 15 percent in the last week, with 2,032 hospital admissions, the highest number since mid-February 2022.

There have also been 51 Covid-19 patients admitted to Catalan ICUs in the last week.

Catalan Public Health Secretary Carmen Cabezas called on people to respect the requirement to continue wearing face masks on public transport and said that vulnerable people should keep wearing masks in indoor public spaces too. 

READ MORE: What are the specific mask rules for public transport and travel in Spain?

This is not the first time the Catalan health authorities have introduced an automatic sick leave system for those with Covid-19.

A similar service was introduced earlier this year during the height of the sixth wave, with a seven-day leave period plus the need to present a positive Covid-19 test.

Andalusia also introduced a similar automatic sick leave system for those with Covid-19 and a positive test back in February 2022.

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