Spain has ruled out giving the Covid booster jab to children under the age of 18.
Instead, according to the latest vaccine report, their objective will be to prioritise administration of the booster to over 18s while focusing on the vaccination of children between 5 and 11 years.
Another objective for the country’s Ministry of Health will be to increase awareness of the vaccination campaign and the overall safety of the inoculations. This is to encourage the 3.1 million citizens who according to ministry figures have currently not received a single vaccination shot.
In recent days, a number of Spain’s autonomous communities including Madrid and Catalonia have started to offer booster vaccination appointments to those under the age of 40. Catalonia has gone one step further and has already begun to offer the jab to those between the ages of 29 and 18.
Last week, the Public Health Commission set out its plans to open up the administration of the third dose across the country to those between 39 and 18 years of age.
The Commission also agreed that those who are considered to be more vulnerable to Covid such as older people, those with serious illnesses, the immunosuppressed and those undergoing cancer treatment should also receive a fourth dose.
However, the Ministry of Health maintains that for now, their primary focus is on increasing the number of citizens who have been fully vaccinated and continuing to roll out the vaccines to the 5 to 11-year-olds group.
During the Interterritorial Health Council meeting this Wednesday Minister of Health, Carolina Darias (pictured) stressed the importance of the vaccination campaign saying, "It is necessary to continue reinforcing all age groups, we know the importance of the vaccine and that after a while they lose effectiveness and a booster dose is necessary.”
Cristóbal Belda, director of the Carlos III Health Institute, Cristóbal Belda presented the preliminary conclusions of the ENE-COVID Senior Study that concluded that the booster jab when combined with the full vaccination schedule, significantly increases immunity against the delta and omicron variants.
"In both cases," he explained at the subsequent press conference, "the neutralizing antibodies against delta and omicron rise after the third dose, 17 times in one case and 10 times in another."
Carolina Darias stressed that it is "important to continue with the roadmap that we have set for ourselves: vaccinate, vaccinate and vaccinate because we know that it is the great weapon to fight this virus."
“I want to insist, once again, on the importance of vaccination. Vaccines save lives and protect us from serious illness, hospitalization, ICU, and death. The data is convincing: a vaccinated person between 60 and 79 years of age is 16 times less likely to be hospitalized, 29 times less likely to go to an ICU and 20 times less likely to die".
According to the latest report from the Ministry of Health Wednesday, 90.6% of the population over the age of 12 have now been fully immunised against Covid.
The figures also show that 46.1% of children between the ages of 5 and 11 years have already received at least one dose and are now waiting for the eight-week interval at which time they can receive the second.
In addition, some 17 million citizens over the age of 40 have now received their booster dose.
Incidence rate falls for a second day
Ministry figures published on Wednesday show that Spain’s Covid incidence is close to reaching its peak after falling for the second day in a row following 11 weeks of increase.
On Wednesday, the 14-day cumulative incidence rate stood at 3,286 per 100,000 residents, compared to Tuesday’s figure of 3,306.
The number of hospital admission increased slightly from 18,918 to 19,000, however, the number of patients requiring intensive care fell from 2,243 to 2,230.
Although the number of infections is still considerably high, health experts believe that the chances of someone being hospitalised due to Covid are up to eight times lower than they were last year.
Health Minister, Carolina Darias said, “we have already reached the peak of this epidemic or are very close to it”.
Image Credit: https://www.sanidad.gob.es/