Spain will only administer the Oxford/AstraZeneca jab to those over the age of 60 it was announced on Wednesday.
The news comes after European and British regulators discovered a possible link between the vaccine and rare blood clots to the brain.
Following a meeting with the country’s regional health authorities, Health Minister, Carolina Darias said; “The vaccination strategy is changing and from tomorrow only over 60-year-olds will be vaccinated with AstraZeneca.”
Darias confirmed that on Thursday, a decision would be made on whether to give the second dose of the vaccine to those who had already received the first.
At a news conference, Darias said that there were two options available which are to use a different vaccine for the second dose, or not administer the second dose at all. She stressed that the initial dose was around 70% effective against COVID-19.
The European Medicines Agency (EMA) also announced that it had registered reports of 169 cases of the rare clotting disorder out of a total of 34 million doses that had been administered in Europe.
Most of the cases which equated to one in every 100,000 people, occurred in women under the age of 60.
The EMA continues to encourage European nations to continue to use the AstraZeneca vaccine, stating that the benefits far outweigh any potential risks and that the clots should be listed as a ‘rare side effect’ of the shot.
The Spanish government’s decision follows Italy, which also recommends administering the jab to the over 60s and the UK which is now encouraging anyone under the age of 30 to get an alternative.
Spain has been one of the hardest-hit European countries with 3,326,736 registered cases to date. Since the start of the pandemic in March 2020, 76,037 people have lost their lives to the virus with 126 new deaths registered on Wednesday.
The country's vaccination program continues to gather pace with 9.3 million people having already received at least one vaccination dose, with 2.9 million receiving the full two doses.
However, with 600,000 people being vaccinated per week, the central government is not on course to hit its target of administering the jab to 70% of the country’s 47 million population by the end of summer.
Image Credit: Moncloa Pool
March 19, 2021