Spain reluctant to vaccinate those over 55 with AstraZeneca

Health Minister claims "prudence" although Germany and France will vaccinate over 65s

Ot Serra
2 min
The Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine.

In Europe, some countries are beginning to break with the trend and are establishing exceptions in the vaccination strategy, but Spain is not. Yesterday the Minister of Health, Carolina Darias, refused once again to administer the AstraZeneca vaccine to people over 55 years old, unlike what states like Germany and France have already decided to do. At a press conference after the meeting of the Interterritorial Health Council, Darias defended the established procedure because it is governed by the principle of "prudence". The minister opted for "going along with the scientific evidence" and recalled that the clinical trial of the laboratory was with people under 55 years of age. The criterion is to administer it to the population group in which it has been shown to be effective.

At the meeting of the Interterritorial Health Council, some autonomous communities defended extending the age range, including Catalonia and the Community of Madrid. On Tuesday, the Secretary of Public Health, Josep Maria Argimon, asked that it be extended to people under 65 years of age in order to accelerate the pace of vaccination. "It makes no sense to have a 30-year-old teacher vaccinated and that a 62-year-old, who is at a bigger risk, cannot have the vaccine", he said.

Darias announced yesterday that 538,900 new doses will arrive on Monday from AstraZeneca, but for now they will not be administered to people over 55 years of age. However, the minister left the door open to a future change recalling that the position of the ministry is not immovable, as she concluded at the meeting of the public health committee. Italy has already changed its decision, as has France, which on Tuesday announced that it would vaccinate people up to 75 years of age with pre-existing diseases with AstraZeneca. The German health minister, Jens Spahn, announced yesterday that he would make the same proposal to the country's vaccine regulatory agency for the over-65s, as data collected by the UK shows that it also "works well" for this age group. This week it also became known that Austria and Denmark bought vaccines outside the European strategy. Darias distanced herself and defended the "strength" of the EU's coordinated action.