Health Dpt wants to start vaccination of 16-29-year-olds "quickly"
The increase in infections among young people has "little impact" on hospitals
BarcelonaThe covid is once again on the rise in Catalonia but the department of Health has wanted to call to calm. Despite the fact that the reproduction rate has increased to 1.28 -each infected person infects more than one person- and over 5% of tests come back positive, the average age of those infected has fallen to under 30. Nearly half of the infections in the last ten days are among people between the ages of 10 and 29 and a third of them in Barcelona. The secretary of Public Health, Carmen Cabezas, explained that, as this increase is concentrated among the youngest, it has "little impact" in hospitals. This morning, the Health Dpt has activated the vaccination of people aged between 30 and 34 years but the idea is to open "quickly" the next call, which is proposed to be broader: to include those between 16 and 29 years.
There are now 461 covid patients in hospitals, 131 of whom are in ICUs. According to Cabezas, there has been a "small increase" in the number of patients, linked to the "weekend phenomenon". The doctor recalled that there is a greater likelihood that the virus causes complications if those infected are over 50. She has predicted that the growth in infections among younger people should not involve any increase in pressure on hospitals. Cabezas has argued that so far the call for vaccination has been made in five-year bands in order not to collapse the website to make appointments and has defined the group aged between 16 and 29 as "very heterogeneous", without cases in ICUs and that "perhaps the most logical thing" would be to open the call to vaccination for all at once.
While the Health Dpt studies this option, also wants to see what the response to the call among 30 to 34-year-olds is. But before Cabezas's announcement, the president of Barcelona's Doctorr Association, Jaume Padrós, and the coordinator of covid hospitalisations at Hospital del Mar, Robert Güerri, had asked for vaccination to be opened up to all ages. On Tv3 Padrós defended that it is important that the doses reach the youngest "the sooner the better". On RAC1, Güerri has spoken of a "perfect combination" to allow activities without social distance, with a variant -the Delta- more contagious and unvaccinated young people. Cabezas admitted that the Delta variant already has an impact on primary care, but it is not expected to affect hospitals.
The secretary of Public Health has insisted on continuing with vaccination and administering the second dose "when it is due" because under 1% of those vaccinated have been infected after receiving it. Just half a year after the first doses were administered, Catalonia is about to reach four million vaccinated against covid -with 6.3 million doses administered-. Cabezas has advanced that the second dose of AstraZeneca, which is now given ten weeks later, still wants to shorten the interval even more and administer it eight weeks after the first.
No change to nightclubs
When asked if the increase in the number of infections in recent days could be linked to the opening of clubs, Cabezas explained that it is too soon for it to have had an impact. Nightlife business association Fecasarm has admitted this noon the "difficulties" in enforcing the restrictions on the first weekend, but Cabezas has reiterated that they have to comply with the measures of distance and face mask use included in the reopening plan, without proposing immediate changes. According to Cabezas, no fines have been given to the premises for non-compliance with the measures.