The victimisation of the national police and guardia civil

2 min
Two people receiving the vaccine yesterday at the space that has been set up in a pavilion of the Barcelona Fair for mass vaccination.

When the history of the management of the pandemic in Catalonia is written, undoubtedly one of the most bizarre episodes will be the one that explains that the courts intervened to force the Catalan Health Department to vaccinate the Guardia Civil and Spanish National Police ahead of other sectors of the population. Catalan High Court gave the Health Department 10 days to vaccinate members of these two bodies, which it considers discriminated against. The history of this case is an accumulation of nonsense in which it is not difficult to detect a certain willingness from the police unions to feel victimised.

The fact is that when key workers (police, teachers, health sector, etc.) started to be vaccinated, the Health Department established a similar procedure for everyone, but it turns out that the National Police and the Guardia Civil asked for a vaccination on demand with mobile units and with different schedules, which delayed the start of the immunisation compared to, for example, the Mossos d'Esquadra, i.e. the Catalan police. There were also problems to know the exact list of people to vaccinate. As a result of all these obstacles, when the Spanish government suspended the vaccination with AstraZeneca, which was the vaccine that was mostly used in these cases, there were already 80% of Mossos d'Esquadra vaccinated but only 10% of national police and 6% of Guardia Civil.

At that time, the Catalan Health Department decided to stop, in agreement with the Spanish Ministry of Health, vaccination of key workers and vaccinate only according to the criterion of age. It is a fact that the Guardia Civil and National Police have received fewer vaccines than the Mossos, but it's a big leap from there to attributing to the Catalan health authorities a will to discriminate, one which the Spanish government should never have dared to make. The Public Prosecutor's Office should never have intervened, and neither the judiciary. This is an issue that affects a few thousand people that could have been resolved quickly and without letting it become a political controversy.

One gets the impression that there was an interest in making victims of the state police forces present in Catalonia in the midst of the Madrid election campaign to benefit the right-wing parties, and here the Health Department could have been more skilful not to fall into the trap. But this does not make it any less outrageous that those in charge of the Department are accused of harming specific people because they belong to a particular group, when all they have done is follow the protocols dictated in Madrid. The decision to stop the vaccination with AstraZeneca to the under-60s was not taken in Barcelona but in Madrid. And as the Catalan Secretary of Health, Josep Maria Argimon, said yesterday, those responsible for the Department do not "give a hoot" who is vaccinated, since the only operational criterion at this point is age.

The conclusion is that the courts and the Spanish government should let the professionals of the Department of Health work and not act at the dictate of police unions, as we all know which way they lean.