Record arrival of vaccine doses in Spain: more than two million in a single day

Darias announces that 1.76 million doses of Pfizer, 103,200 of AstraZeneca and 188,400 of Moderna will be distributed today

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The Minister of Health, Carolina Darias, has visited this Monday a vaccination point in La Rioja and has also received the arrival of doses of Pfizer.

MadridThe pace of vaccination continues to accelerate in the State after the problems with AstraZeneca and Janssen, which led the European Union to entrust Pfizer with the purchase of 50 million additional doses this quarter. Thus, the Minister of Health, Carolina Darias, announced on Monday from La Rioja that today Spain will beat the record of arrival and distribution of vaccines among regions, with the arrival of more than 2 million doses in a single day. Specifically, it is 1,763,190 from Pfizer, 103,200 from AstraZeneca and 188,400 from Moderna, while waiting for Janssen to send the second shipment promised for April. As for Catalonia, it will receive 280,000 doses from Pfizer, 30,200 from Moderna and 16,900 from AstraZeneca.

In fact, the Spanish Health Ministry no longer speaks of 87 million vaccines between the second and third quarter of 2021, but 90 million to meet the goal of having fully vaccinated 70% of the population by the end of August. Therefore, the commitment to reach 38 million this quarter (in fact, there is already talk of 40) and 47 million during the next quarter has not been diluted. According to Darias, this Monday marks a "new milestone", in line with progress made in recent weeks: "Day by day we are meeting milestones and goals," he said.

Spain has a weekly vaccination capacity of 3.5 million doses, as boasted by the Spanish president, Pedro Sanchez, when he recently announced a surge in vaccines to get out of the pandemic soon. At the moment, however, it is not reaching full capacity. The minister pointed out that the communities managed to administer "more than 1.4 million doses" last week.

In this sense, Darias recalled that the over-80s "have practically finished immunisation with at least one dose" and said she is confident that this week it will be completed. Meanwhile, for those aged between 70 and 79 at least 70% of the population have received one dose. As for Catalonia, 22.1% of Catalans have already received at least one dose of the vaccine. In the last 24 hours 1,026 first doses and 19 second doses have been injected. Overall, 1,717,594 first doses and 633,412 second doses have been administered.

Unfinished business

It now remains to be seen what will happen to the priority groups that received the first dose from AstraZeneca and are younger than 60 years of age. Although the European Medicines Agency has recommended a second dose of the Oxford vaccine, Darias has pointed out that right now it is best to wait until "there is scientific evidence". Although time is passing and it may be that the four or twelve weeks recommended by AstraZeneca between one dose and the second may be exceeded, the Minister of Health has pointed out that it is best to know first the results of the study of the Carlos III Institute in five Spanish hospitals (two of them Catalan, the Vall d'Hebron and the Clínic) that is testing the effects of inoculating a second dose of Pfizer or Moderna, as Germany and France have already done. However, it will still be another "four or five weeks" until the study is made public.

Darias has also been "cautious" in relation to the possibility of putting an end to the requirement to wear a mask in the street, as Israel has done after having the vaccinated population. This comes despite the European Agency against Infectious Diseases saying some exceptions could be made, such as between vaccinated people and people without risk. In this case, Darias said that it will have to be agreed through the European authorities and channelled in the Interterritorial Health Council. Precisely because of the evidence of the low risk of infection and spread for vaccinated people, the minister has admitted that the digital European passport will be a "facilitator of mobility", ie, will allow travel without PCR in summer, as her team advanced two weeks ago.