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COVID-19

How many people in Spain have died after getting the Covid-19 vaccine?

One of the main complaints among the world’s unvaccinated is that there isn’t enough information on the number of deaths and side effects among people who’ve had the Covid-19 vaccine. Here’s the available data for Spain.

How many people in Spain have died after getting the Covid-19 vaccine?
How many people have experienced serious side effects or have died after receiving a Covid-19 vaccine in Spain? Photo: Lluis Gené/AFP

Spain is adamant that the best way to convince the unvaccinated to get the jab is to feed them the facts, positive and negative, and let them decide. 

The Spanish Agency for Medicines and Health Products (Aemps) on Wednesday published a pharmacovigilance report which sheds light on the information that those unconvinced by getting the vaccine often want to see before deciding.

Side effects

Of the 71,746,002 Covid-19 vaccines administered to 38.32 million people in Spain up to November 14th 2021, there have been 50,824 notifications of side effects. 

That means that out of every 100,000 people vaccinated in Spain, 71 people have experienced adverse reactions, only one in five of them serious. 

In the majority of cases, they’re heightened versions of common disorders such as a high temperature, pain in the arm around the vaccinated area, headaches, dizziness, muscle aches and joint stiffness.

Women appear to be more likely than men to suffer these side effects after getting the Covid-19 vaccine, representing 74 percent of notified cases.

Numerous scientific reports point to insufficient testing among women during trials for the Covid-19 vaccine as a potential reason why they tend to be the ones who suffer side effects more often. 

In total there have been 10,091 cases of serious side effects to the Covid-19 vaccine in Spain. 

Spain’s Agency for Medicines and Health Products classifies as serious “any adverse event that requires or prolongs hospitalisation, results in significant or persistent disability, or congenital malformation, endangers life or is fatal, as well as any other condition that is considered clinically significant”. 

Deaths

According to Aemps, there have been 346 deaths among people in Spain following their Covid-19 vaccination.

However, these deaths cannot be linked to Covid-19 vaccines by the mere fact of being notified until a study confirms the causal relationship between the vaccine and death or the serious side effect. 

In other words, if a person dies due to a blood clot a few days after getting vaccinated against Covid-19, there is an undeniable possibility that this may have occured for other reasons than the Covid-19 vaccine.

As Aemps’s report points out , “vaccination does not reduce deaths from causes other than Covid-19, so during the vaccination campaign it is expected that deaths from other different reasons will continue to occur”. 

Pfizer vaccine

Out of the roughly 51 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine administered in Spain, there have been 28,967 notifications of side effects, affecting women in most cases (75 percent) between the ages of 18 and 65 (84 percent).

5,725 of which were classified as serious. 

A total of 221 people vaccinated with Pfizer have developed myocarditis (inflammation of the heart muscle) or pericarditis (inflammation of the pericardium) after vaccination, three of whom died. 

Two of these people were over 60 and displayed pre-existing conditions that could result in heart problems. The majority of the 221 patients were recovering or had recovered by the time health authorities were notified.

Seventy-one percent of these cardiac issues affected men, in 61 percent of cases after receiving the second dose and in 62 percent of cases in the first week following inoculation. 

In people under 40 in Spain, 0.8 cases out of every 100,000 doses resulted in these heart complications. 

According to the EMA’s Pharmacovigilance Risk Assessment Committee (PRAC), there is not enough evidence to link the Pfizer vaccine to any form of Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome (MIS). 

Moderna vaccine 

Out of 9.16 million Moderna doses administered to 4.8 million people in Spain, there have been 8,352 notifications of side effects, again mainly among women (75 percent) and people aged 18 to 65 (90 percent).

The majority of these common side effects were similar to Pfizer’s – a temperature, headaches, muscle ache – but a total of 1,260 of these side effect notifications were classified as serious. 

Of these, 79 cases were also related to myocarditis or pericarditis, again mainly in men (90 percent), after the second dose (65 percent) and within the first week after getting the second vaccine (78 percent). 

In under 40s in Spain, 1.4 out of every 100,000 doses administered were followed by cases of myocarditis or pericarditis, but none resulted in death. 

Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) vaccine 

Of the 1.9 million single-dose J&J vaccines administered in Spain, there have been 1,370 notified cases of side effects, 368 of which were classified as serious. 

Most of these were experienced by women (59 percent) and in people aged 18 and 65 (86 percent). 

Common side effects are the same as for other Covid-19 vaccines: headaches, fever, muscle and joint ache, but there’s one difference.

More than 20,000 women in Spain have reported menstrual cramps, delays, shorter cycles or heavier bleeding after being vaccinated against Covid-19.

These side effects on women’s menstruation are being studied at the University of Granada where current evidence shows any possible side effect is temporary and does not affect fertility.

“There is not enough evidence to support a possible causal relationship between this vaccine and the appearance of menstrual disorders,” PRAC has reported. 

AstraZeneca vaccine 

The inoculation developed by Sweden and Oxford University stopped being used in Spain over global fears surrounding very rare cases of unusual blood clots that could result in a type of stroke. 

Before Spain stopped administering AstraZeneca, there were 20 reported notifications relating to this out the 9.8 million doses administered, 15 of which saw patients recover quickly, one who didn’t recover and four whose current health status is unknown. 

Conclusion 

The main focus of this article is to give information on the data relating to Covid-19 vaccine possible side effects and deaths released by Spanish authorities.

Spain’s Health Ministry knows that by doing so and contrasting it with the data for vaccinations, it will become clear to all, especially those most apprehensive about the inoculation, that the benefits of getting vaccinated far outweigh the very small risk factor. 

To give a few examples based on Spanish health authorities’ data: 

Vaccinated people are three times less likely to contract the Covid-19 Delta variant. 

In the 30-50 age group, the risk of admission to hospital is ten times lower if people are vaccinated. 

In the 60 to 80 age group, the risk of death is 25 times higher for unvaccinated people. 

Spain’s current infection rate (149 cases per 100,000 people) is roughly the same as it was last March when only 4 percent of the population was vaccinated, but Covid hospital occupancy has gone from 22 percent back then to 5 percent now and Covid ICU occupancy has dropped from 7 to 2 percent, thanks to the fact that almost 90 percent of Spain’s elegible population is now vaccinated.

The World Health Organisation on Thursday reported that Covid-19 vaccine has saved 470,000 lives across Europe. 

This list could continue but the data is clear in Spain and elsewhere – Covid-19 vaccines may not always stop people from getting infected with the coronavirus but they do considerably lower the risk of ending up in hospital or dying, whatever your age. 

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Member comments

  1. Thanks for the clear article. Some graphic representations of the stats would be powerful. (There’s a typo, *eligible)

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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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