Spain’s Public Health Commission on Thursday morning gave the Health Ministry the go-ahead to approve Covid-19 booster doses for all over 18s in Spain, adding people in their thirties and their twenties to the public healthcare’s vaccination strategy.
The move represents a big step for vaccination plans in the country, where so far around 34 percent of the population have had a booster, a lower rate than in other European countries such as Malta, Ireland, Italy and Portugal.
Around 12 million people between the ages of 18 and 39 in Spain will now be able to get their reinforcement dose.
The previous update to the booster strategy was introduced on December 16th 2021 when two other age groups – over-50s and over-40s – were added at the same time to Spain’s booster plans.
Several regions which had vaccinated the majority of their over-40s had recently been calling for the national government to approve the booster dose for people in the 30 to 39 age group.
It is unclear yet whether the booster campaign for under 40s will follow a staggered approach – from oldest to youngest, one year at a time – as it has mainly been up to now, although regional authorities have the powers to adapt their strategy as they see fit.
Back in November, the European Commission requested that all Member States make Covid boosters available to all adults while prioritising over-40s, but Spain has waited until now to offer reinforcement doses to all over-18s.
The announcement comes as Spain’s infection rate is at its highest rate ever, with more than 3 in 100 people in the country having been infected with Covid-19 over the past two weeks.
So far, Pfizer and Moderna are the approved booster vaccines since the booster campaign started with people over 70 last October 2021.
People of all ages who were vaccinated with the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine (Janssen) could already receive their booster dose and under-40s with AstraZeneca have to wait three months from their second dose.
People who received Pfizer or Moderna vaccines initially have to wait six months before getting their booster dose.
Spain’s Health Ministry also decided in early January that people aged under 65 who have been infected with Covid-19 will have to wait at least four weeks to receive their booster doses, something some health experts have said makes no sense as a person’s natural immunity is at top strength soon after recovering from the virus.