Spain will be offering a third ‘booster’ dose of the Covid vaccines to health workers and anyone aged between 60 and 69, extending the vaccine programme from the previous 70 plus age threshold.
The announcement that was made on Wednesday, November 17, by Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, comes as infection rates across the country continue to rise.
Talking to reporters during a visit to Turkey Sanchez said, "Spain's incidence rate is lower than that of other European countries. But we must focus our attention on keeping the hospital occupancy of Covid cases low.”
“The meeting of the vaccines panel has just ended, and it has been agreed that a third dose of vaccination will be given to health and social-health professionals and for people over 60 years of age,” he continued.
So far Spain has fully vaccinated 79% of its citizens and according to data from the Ministry of Health, that includes 97.8%of the population between 60 and 69 years of age.
The task to administer the third booster shot began last month and was offered to cancer patients, nursing home residents, patients undergoing very high-risk immunosuppressive treatments, people over 40 with Down Syndrome, those aged over 70 years, plus other vulnerable groups.
The proposal is expected to get the final approval next week when it goes to the Public Health Commission, which is the body that was formed by the Ministry of Health and Spanish regions to help manage the Covid pandemic.
But at a press conference in Ankara, with the President of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Sanchez insisted that "We must continue with the vaccination process without pausing, with prudence and responsibility."
Be that as it may, sources from the Vaccine Report group have pointed out that there is actually still no written document and they believe the agreement is lacking “a lot of small print to finalise it.”
Sánchez also stressed that in regards to the hospitals, “Spain is much better equipped than a year ago to deal with any rebound that occurs. Our cumulative incidence rate is, frankly, lower than that of other European countries. But we must focus our attention on keeping the hospital occupancy of Covid cases low on the wards and in intensive care units.”
The country's infection rate, as measured over the previous 14 days, has been steadily rising steadily since late October. On Wednesday it rose to 96 per 100,000, from roughly 89 on Tuesday. However, it still remains well below levels in some other countries such as Austria, with over 1,400 cases per 100,000 and the Netherlands with over 900.
Spain, on Wednesday, reported 6,667 cases bringing the total to 5,067,712 since the start of the pandemic, while the number of fatalities rose by 30 to an overall total of 87,775.
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