Under 65s in Spain who caught Covid-19 need to wait a month before booster

Those aged under 65 who have been infected with Covid-19 will now have to wait at least four weeks to receive their booster doses, Spain’s Health Ministry announced.

Covid-19 booster vaccines
Booster vaccines in Spain. Photo: Frederic J. BROWN / AFP

The new rule is part of the update of the Vaccine Strategy against Covid-19 released by Spain’s Ministry of Health on Wednesday. 

“People for whom a booster dose is recommended who have had symptomatic or asymptomatic Covid-19 infections after the full primary vaccination regimen, will be administered a booster dose with mRNA at least four weeks after a diagnosis of the infection,” said the document shared by Spain’s Health Ministry.

Currently, booster doses have been approved for those over the age of 40.

Those who received the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines will be eligible to get their booster dose six months after they received their second jab, while those who received AstraZeneca or the single dose Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) will be able to get their booster after only three months.

According to the latest data, 83 percent of the population who are eligible to receive their booster have already had it.

READ ALSO: Spain now has the highest Covid infection rate in Europe

The update to the Vaccine Strategy document also details some changes regarding vaccination in minors. This includes children from ages 5 to 11 who are given the Pfizer childhood vaccine, the only one authorised for this age group.

This will now be given in two injections separated by eight weeks. In the event that a child reaches twelve years of age before receiving the second dose, the adult dose will be used, only after the two-month interval has passed.

The document also states that those children who have had Covid-19 will be given a single dose one month after diagnosis or date of the onset of symptoms.

If they are infected with the virus between the two doses, they will receive their second dose after four weeks have elapsed, also maintaining the eight-week interval.

These changes come as Spain is currently battling its sixth wave of Covid.

Over the Christmas season, Spain has seen a steep rise in cases. On Wednesday Spain recorded the highest cumulative incidence rate in Europe at 2,433 cases per 100,000 inhabitants, surpassing the United Kingdom (2,326), France (1,693), Switzerland (1,550) and Portugal (1,208).

Ninety percent of the population of Spain has already received two Covid-19 doses and more than a million children between 5 and 11 years old have received at least their first dose.

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Spain to offer fourth Covid-19 vaccine dose to ‘entire population’

Spain’s Health Ministry on Thursday announced there will be a second Covid-19 booster shot offered to all age groups in the country, with the rollout likely to begin this autumn.

Spain to offer fourth Covid-19 vaccine dose to 'entire population'

Spain’s Health Minister Carolina Darias on Thursday announced that the country’s Public Health Commission, the body responsible for advising the ministry on Spain’s Covid vaccination strategy, has said there should be a fourth dose offered to all of Spain’s 47 million inhabitants. 

What hasn’t been fully decided yet is when the rollout will begin, although Darias did hint that it’s likely to take place during the autumn. 

“We’re waiting for the arrival of new vaccines adapted to Covid-19 variants by that date, as stated in the contracts we have signed with the pharmaceutical companies,” Darias said on La Sexta TV channel.

The decision also still requires full approval from the Public Health Commission. There’s unlikely to be a u-turn on the matter, although Spanish health authorities have at different stages of the pandemic taken some time to execute decisions they initially announced. 

Until now, only people over 80, those in care homes and people classified as vulnerable (cancer, HIV, transplant, dialysis patients) have been approved to have a second booster dose in Spain, which is milder than the initial two-shot vaccination given in 2021.

In April 2022, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) considered that at that time it was too early to speak of a fourth dose for all age groups, but they have given the go ahead to high-risk groups.

Around 50 percent of Spain’s population has had one Covid-19 booster dose (third dose), but the rates are lower among younger people.

Spain’s Public Health Commission is in favour of waiting to see how the country’s epidemiological situation evolves and for the new messenger RNA vaccines adapted to the new variants to be made available. 

These new serums are expected to be ready in October and the two pharmaceutical companies developing them, Pfizer and Moderna, have already submitted the results of their clinical trials to the European Medicines Agency.

Although for the past months Spain has only been counting Covid-19 infections in people aged 60 and over as well as serious cases, health authorities have recorded an increase in recent weeks. 

On Tuesday, they confirmed there were 36,133 new infections over the previous 7 days and 131 Covid deaths.

As part of its change of strategy towards the pandemic in recent months, the Spanish government has essentially treated Covid-19 like another endemic disease similar to the flu, deciding to remove quarantines for asymptomatic and mild cases, and after a long wait, relaxed indoor mask wearing rules.