40 to 44-year-olds can now get an appointment for vaccination
A total of 5m doses have been administered; population now called to get vaccines at weekends too
BarcelonaPeople born between 1977 and 1981, who are aged between 40 and 44, can now choose the time, day and place they want to get vaccinated against covid through the Department of Health's website. This was announced on Thursday by the Secretary of Public Health, Carmen Cabezas, who recalled that this group may receive any of the authorised vaccines except from AstraZeneca. If all goes well, the Health Dpt calculates that, with Thursday's data, a total of 5m doses have been administered in Catalonia since the campaign began. This week, for example, a total of 468,290 vaccines have arrived: 394,290 from Pfizer, 50,500 from Moderna and 23,500 from Janssen. Last week more than 715,000 doses arrived and the difference in figures is due to the fact that AstraZeneca has not delivered any new shipments this week.
So far, 82.8% of people over the age of 50, who are the most likely to be admitted to hospital because of covid, have started their vaccinations. However, the Health Dpt warns that vaccinating those aged between 40 and 49 is also very important: of the 193 admitted to intensive care units in Catalonia, 32 are under the age of 50. "The vaccine works and it is important to protect them because the disease can be serious," said the secretary.
Cabezas has also warned that the vaccination points begin to encounter a problem that could be serious: it is hard to fill the slots for vaccination on weekends. This is why she has appealed to citizens to take advantage of Saturday and Sunday to get vaccinated: "There are plenty of slots on offer and it is a good day to get vaccinated". The secretary and head of the vaccination plan has warned that this issue has to be solved especially now that the summer season is coming, when there may be less interest, also taking into account the fact that progressively the population called to be vaccinated is getting younger. "The perception of risk changes with age and increasingly we will approach population groups with a lower perception of severity of covid," acknowledges Cabezas. Despite everything, from Health insists that the vaccine is "majoritàriament wanted" and there is very little refusal rate in the open bands.
The Health Dpt hopes to start administering second doses to people who are between 60 and 69 years in the coming weeks. Cabezas has assured that they are trying to administer second punctures between ten and twelve weeks after the first, as recommended by the technical data sheet of the Anglo-Swedish drug, because as weeks pass, the immune response from the first vaccine gradually grants greater maximum protection. However, she admitted that the threat of the Delta variant (also called "Indian"), which partially escapes the first dose, means they might be administered earlier. "These people will receive a message from the Health Department to go and get vaccinated to the same place where the first dose was administered and, if they do not receive this SMS and it is already their turn, may enter the web enabled to schedule the puncture," said the head of Public Health. However, it could be the case that a person at risk could be vaccinated within four weeks -the minimum period to be left between doses- after they consult their GP.
Now that summer is approaching, some regional governments have said they are willing to vaccinate tourists from other regions. This would be especially the case for those whose second dose is up during their holidays. Catalan government sources indicate that the Ministry of Health is expected to make its position on the matter in the coming days, before it is discussed at the Interterritorial Health Council next Wednesday. Catalonia, however, has already made its opinion clear: Cabezas is in favour of this solution for long trips. If, however, the trip is short, visitors should be vaccinated wherever they live. In fact, this decision would also be useful in Catalonia to protect primary care and vaccination points in summer resorts and second homes during the holidays. Out of solidarity and to facilitate the planning of the campaign in "a region with millions of inhabitants," according to the secretary. "If you live in Barcelona or Cornellà de Llobregat and spend summer in Salou, you could easily schedule your vaccination in your place of residence," she summed up.
Faced with the vaccination of younger people, and asked if it will continue to move forward by age groups or if there will be a general call - two possibilities that had been put forward by the Health Dpt -, Cabezas has pointed out that they will continue to vaccinate by decades, in order not to collapse the system. However, the Health Department does not rule out calling various age groups at the same time, as they expect to be able to administer more vaccines.
On the other hand, Cabezas said that soon vaccination in hospitals for children between 12 and 15 who suffer very high risk diseases will start. Centers are already making lists and prioritising within this group.
147.000 certificates downloaded
In less under two days, the Catalan population has downloaded more than 147,000 vaccination certificates to certify that they have received their covid vaccine and 7,000 certificates of recovery, i.e. if between 10 and 180 days ago you received positive in a diagnostic test and are considered to have recovered. These documents are intended to boost mobility between EU countries, but will not come into operation until 1 July. In addition, the certificate will not be mandatory for travel, but it will speed up travel.