CONFIRMED: Spain approves Covid booster vaccines for over-40s

Third Covid-19 doses being given in Spain
Booster shots to be given to those in their 50s. Photo: JOSE JORDAN / AFP
Spain’s Public Health Commission has approved Covid-19 booster shots for people in their fifties and those vaccinated with AstraZeneca, as well as confirming that people in the 40-49 age group will also be added to the booster campaign at a later date.

Spain’s Public Health Commission on Thursday approved Covid-19 booster jabs for people in their fifties in Spain, as well as for people of all ages vaccinated with the AstraZeneca vaccine, following the support given to this decision by the country’s Health Ministry, the country’s 17 regional governments and the Vaccine Committee.

The official health body has also confirmed booster vaccines for those aged 40 to 49. However, they will only start receiving their booster jabs once the 50 to 59 age group booster campaign is more advanced. 

Each of Spain’s autonomous communities will be responsible for organising its own booster rollout for over-40s and over-50s, but regional health departments are likely to follow a staggered approach where people are contacted in a descending order – from oldest to youngest – one or two years at a time. To be eligible for their booster dose, six months must have passed from their initial two-dose vaccination.

The European Center for Disease Control (ECDE) endorsed the third dose for people over 40 three weeks ago. 

Spain’s Vaccine Committee – a group of medical experts who advise the Health Ministry on its vaccination strategy also suggested that boosters should be extended to those who were fully vaccinated with AstraZeneca, a decision the Public Health Commission has since also approved.

Health Minister Carolina Darias told journalists on Wednesday that her department supported the proposal for the Public Health Commission to “drop the age limit for the Covid booster to 50 years of age, and that people with full AstraZeneca vaccination also be eligible for a booster jab”. 

When asked about the EU health agency’s (ECDC) latest comments that vaccines aren’t enough to stop infections from rising across the EU, Spain’s Health Minister said that such advice was aimed at other countries with a lower vaccination rate. 

“The booster dose works. We are seeing that the infection rate of those in their seventies is lower and this is the group that has received most booster shots”.

READ ALSO – UPDATE: What you need to know about getting a Covid-19 booster shot in Spain

So far, Covid-19 booster vaccines in Spain have been offered to people aged 60 and above, immunosuppressed people, healthcare and care home staff and people who received the single-dose Johnson and Johnson vaccine.

Most of those who got the AstraZeneca jabs in Spain are aged between 60 and 69 and are already receiving their third doses, but there are also younger people such as essential workers who received it before it was decided that it should be for those in their sixties only.

This includes essential staff such as police officers, firefighters and teachers.  

There are around seven million people in Spain who fall within the 50-59 age group. 

Countries such as France and the UK have already approved booster jabs for all adults, in a bid to help stop the new Omicron variant.

A total of 80.2 percent of those over 70 in Spain have already been given a Covid-19 booster shot.

This comes after Covid-19 cases in Spain have risen by 42 percent in the last seven days. On Wednesday, infections once again reached a peak since July, with a cumulative national incidence rate of 441 cases per 100,000 inhabitants.

The worse affected regions are Navarre with an incidence rate of 1,314 cases per 100,000 inhabitants, the Basque Country with 966 and Aragón with 772.

Despite the rising cases, on Wednesday Darias ruled out adding more measures and restrictions. She said people should continue getting vaccinated, wear a mask and ensure rooms have good ventilation.

However, health experts who advise Spain’s regions on public health sent a list of recommendations in which they ask that the hospitality industry limit the number of diners per table to 10 and that those who attend Christmas dinners and meals at home undergo an antigen test beforehand.

READ MORE: Will Spain bring back tougher Covid restrictions for Christmas?


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