Spain will set up a register in order to track those who refuse to be vaccinated against COVID-19 the health minister, Salvador Illa said on Monday.
The list of Spanish citizens who refuse the jab will not be shared publicly or with employers, however, it will be shared with other EU members states Illa said in an interview with Spanish broadcaster La Sexta.
"What will be done is a registry, which will be shared with our European partners... of those people who have been offered it and have simply rejected it," he said.
"It is not a document which will be made public and it will be done with the utmost respect for data protection."
He continued: "People who are offered a therapy that they refuse for any reason, it will be noted in the register...that there is no error in the system, not to have given this person the possibility of being vaccinated."
Illa said that the public would be contacted by the regional authorities when it was their turn with those who decline to be vaccinated being logged in the register. It is unclear at this time what the implications would be on an individual.
Illa stressed that the vaccination was not compulsory but was “the best form to defeat the virus is to get all vaccinated, the more the better".
A recent poll suggests that the Spanish population is starting to feel more at ease over being vaccinated with 28% of people now saying they would reject the vaccine, down from 47% in November.
The news comes as the number of recorded deaths from COVID-19 passed the 50,000 mark on Monday.
Spain has been one of the hardest-hit countries since the outbreak began in March.
Since December 24, the country has registered 24,462 new coronavirus cases with 298 people losing their lives according to recent figures released by the Ministry of Health. To date, the country has registered over 1.8 million coronavirus infections.
It comes after Spain commenced its vaccination program on Sunday along with other EU member countries after the Pfizer/BioNTech candidate was approved by the EMA (European Medicines Agency).
There were delays to the initial rollout on Monday after logistical issues. However, on Tuesday, over 350,000 doses of the vaccine started to arrive at airports in Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia and Sevilla.
Image Credit: La Moncloa
March 19, 2021