Spain has announced that it will be administering a third Covid vaccine booster for the over 70s.
The decision was reached on Tuesday by Spain’s Public Health Commission, which is made up of the Health Ministry and representatives from the country’s different regions.
The booster vaccination campaign will begin on October 25 with the aim of boosting the immunity of the most vulnerable in society.
In a statement, the Ministry of Health said that around 78% of the population had been vaccinated and that they were now authorising the booster shot for the elderly who had received their second vaccine dose more than six months ago.
Until now, Spain had only authorised the third vaccine to those living in nursing homes and those with compromised immune systems.
It’s believed that around 7 million Spanish citizens fall into the over 70s category.
It comes as the European Medicines Agency (EMA) on Monday gave the green light to a third Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for the over 18s. However, they still maintain that there is very little evidence to suggest that a third vaccine will be effective in those with normal immune systems.
In a press release, the EMA said that the data showed a rise in antibody levels following the administration of Pfizer-BioNTech booster shots 6 months after the second vaccine dose in people from 18 to 55 years old. And as a result, EU governments could “adopt the recommendations” to administer a third dose of the Pfizer vaccine to all adults.
"Although there is no direct evidence that the ability to produce antibodies in these patients protected against COVID-19, it is expected that the extra dose would increase protection at least in some patients," they said.
According to sources, the Public Health Commission’s decision to administer third vaccine doses to the over-70s was backed by 12 of Spain’s 17 regions, which are in charge of their healthcare systems, vaccination drives and coronavirus restrictions. Galicia and Madrid voted against the measure, while five regions abstained.
It means that the booster vaccination drive will now coincide with the yearly flu jabs with experts fearing that the compounding effect of contracting Covid-19 along with the flu poses an even greater threat to older citizens.
Latest Ministry Figures
Spain’s vaccination campaign continues to roll out with industry figures published on Tuesday showing that 79.5% of the population had now received at least one vaccine dose with 77.5% having been fully vaccinated.
The transmission rate has continued to plummet in recent weeks thanks to the vaccination campaign which in turn has released pressure on the country’s public health system.
As of Tuesday, October 5, the number of infections per 100,000 stood at 52.51 cases with all age groups having an incidence rate below 100.
The Health Ministry considers anything above 250 to be ‘high risk’.
The latest figures show that since the pandemic began, 4,967,200 people had been infected with 86,621 losing their lives.
Image Credit: La Moncloa