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COVID-19

UPDATE: Can I request a second dose in Spain if I’ve had Covid-19?

Some countries require international arrivals to have had two Covid vaccines even if they’ve had Covid, whereas Spain considers people to be fully immunised if they’ve recovered from the disease and had one shot. Here's what Spain's Health Ministry has said about people in this situation.

man gets Covid vaccine in spain
The only region to officially announce second doses for people under 65 who have recovered from Covid-19 is Madrid. Photo: LLUIS GENE / AFP

If you’re a resident in Spain and you’ve had Covid-19, you’ve probably only been given one Covid-19 vaccine dose. 

That’s because Spanish health authorities, as is the case across the EU, consider that having recovered from the coronavirus and having one vaccine dose is sufficient immunity to prevent re-infection. 

However, other countries such as the UK and United States do not consider this scenario to be equivalent to full immunity, and therefore apply travel restrictions that don’t exist for those who had two vaccine doses (with the exception of the single dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine). 

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Covid-19 vaccines are only administered by public health authorities in Spain, with each region setting its own rules around a common national framework. 

So can you get a second Covid-19 vaccine after recovering from Covid-19, even though this isn’t part of the official vaccination plan?

Yes, Spain’s national Health Ministry and regional health departments are now all fully aware of the limbo many travellers have found themselves in over the past months and have stated that those who need the second dose to travel “must contact their autonomous community to be inoculated”. 

“There are provisions, both on the part of the ministry and the autonomous communities, to avoid this type of situation,” a Spanish health ministry source is quoted as saying in several Spanish news websites about the problems some travellers have been facing. 

The communities “can and are doing it for the people who claim it,” added the same sources.

Up until now, Madrid was the only region to officially announce that it offers this second dose to the Covid recovered, whereas in other regions it was often up to the individual health centre to decide whether they’d give a second dose to people requesting it. 

That’s largely because the general consensus was and is that people under 65 who had Covid-19 have to wait for six months before receiving their first and only vaccine, either Pfizer or Moderna. Those above that age can get two shots.

“I am giving a second dose only with the justification and requirement of the destination country,” a nurse in Zaragoza told El Periódico de Aragón in early November.

Readers have previously contacted The Local Spain to express how they had not been able to get a second dose in different regions because they’d had Covid and thus weren’t able to travel to the UK without having to quarantine. 

Now it should no longer be a matter of having to argue one’s case and at most provide proof of travel abroad in order to be able to get that second vaccine dose at your local health centre or vaccination point.

In some regions it will possible to get the shot without booking an appointment first. 

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TRAVEL NEWS

Covid face mask rule on flights in Europe set to be eased

The mandatory EU-wide mask requirement for air travel is set to be dropped from Monday, May 16th, but airlines may still require passengers to wear masks on some or all flights

Covid face mask rule on flights in Europe set to be eased

Europe-wide facemask rules on flights are set to be ditched as early as next week in light of new recommendations from health and air safety experts.

The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) dropped recommendations for mandatory mask-wearing in airports and during flights in updated Covid-19 safety measures for travel issued on Wednesday, May 11th.

The new rules are expected to be rolled out from Monday, May 16th, but airlines may still continue to require the wearing of masks on some or all of flights. And the updated health safety measures still say that wearing a face mask remains one of the best ways to protect against the transmission of the virus.

The joint EASA/ECDC statement reminded travellers that masks may still be required on flights to destinations in certain countries that still require the wearing of masks on public transport and in transport hubs.

It also recommends that vulnerable passengers should continue to wear a face mask regardless of the rules, ideally an FFP2/N95/KN95 type mask which offers a higher level of protection than a standard surgical mask.

“From next week, face masks will no longer need to be mandatory in air travel in all cases, broadly aligning with the changing requirements of national authorities across Europe for public transport,” EASA executive director Patrick Ky said in the statement. 

“For passengers and air crews, this is a big step forward in the normalisation of air travel. Passengers should however behave responsibly and respect the choices of others around them. And a passenger who is coughing and sneezing should strongly consider wearing a face mask, for the reassurance of those seated nearby.”  

ECDC director Andrea Ammon added: “The development and continuous updates to the Aviation Health Safety Protocol in light of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic have given travellers and aviation personnel better knowledge of the risks of transmission of SARS-CoV-2 and its variants. 

“While risks do remain, we have seen that non-pharmaceutical interventions and vaccines have allowed our lives to begin to return to normal. 

“While mandatory mask-wearing in all situations is no longer recommended, it is important to be mindful that together with physical distancing and good hand hygiene it is one of the best methods of reducing transmission. 

“The rules and requirements of departure and destination states should be respected and applied consistently, and travel operators should take care to inform passengers of any required measures in a timely manner.”

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