How Spain plans to vaccinate its population against COVID-19

Following on from the United Kingdom’s announcement yesterday that it would be the first western country to start vaccinating its population, we thought we would look at Spain’s plan and see when you can expect to be vaccinated.

Health Minister Salvador Illa has announced that the people being vaccinated will be divided into 15 groups, with care home residents and frontline health workers at the top of the list. Spain plans to divide the vaccine’s distribution into three phases of three months. The first phase sees nursing home residents, healthcare workers, and those with severe disabilities being vaccinated between January and March. Phase two of the vaccination process will run between April and June, while phase three will last from July to September. No decision has yet been made on who will be tested first, but all candidates will come from the following groups:

  • Adults over 64 years of age (around nine million)
  • People with underlying conditions such as obesity or diabetes
  • People who live or work in closed settings or communities
  • People who live in vulnerable socio-economic conditions
  • Essential workers
  • Teachers
  • Children
  • Residents of areas with coronavirus outbreaks or a high incidence rate
  • Pregnant women and those with nursing babies
  • Immunized people who have already had COVID-19
  • Teenagers, young adults, and adults not included in other categories

“These groups cover the entire Spanish population. With this, decisions will be made on who is a priority group in Phases 2 and 3,” said Illa. “It will be a flexible decision, made by experts when we have more information about the vaccines and their availability. The strategy will be updated.”

Spain has been slated to receive 140 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine following agreements between the European Union and six pharmaceutical companies (AstraZeneca, Sanofi-GSK, Janssen, BioNTech-Pfizer, CureVac, and Moderna). The reason for such a high number of doses is that most of the currently available vaccines require a double dose.

The amount of vaccines Spain will receive is more than enough to double-dose the entire population. The excess quantities are meant as a reserve, to encourage production, and to help developing countries.

For now, there is no law saying that you must be vaccinated against COVID-19 in Spain, but it may well be that later on, you must show that you have been vaccinated to take part in certain activities. International travel could very well require proof of vaccination.

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