Health Department urges under-60s vaccinated with AstraZeneca to remain calm: "With one dose they already have a very important protection"

Carmen Cabezas is confident that the vaccination committee will decide next week whether to administer the second dose and says that the serious effects occur with the first one

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A detail of the vaccination campaign in Barcelona yesterday at one of the centres where the AstraZeneca doses are being administered.

BarcelonaAfter the stop of vaccination with AstraZeneca for those under 60 years of age, the big unresolved question is what happens to the younger people who have already received one dose and were expecting the second dose from May 3. The head of the vaccination plan in Catalonia, Dr. Carmen Cabezas, today wanted to send a message of "tranquility" to these people and insisted that with a single dose of the vaccine they "already have a very important protection" and that, from the experience of what has happened in the UK, they know that the serious adverse effects that can occur "always" take place with the first injection. In an interview with Catalunya Ràdio, the doctor is confident that a decision on the issue will be taken next week by the health ministry's vaccines committee.

On the table there are several possibilities. One is to continue with the plan and administer the second dose normally, another is to consider applying a second dose of another pharmaceutical - countries like France have already announced that they will do so - and, finally, the option of delaying the second dose, which is now done at 12 weeks and which some studies indicate has better protection if it is done even further apart. Cabezas has celebrated as "good news" the decision to raise the age limit for AstraZeneca to 69 years.

As for the pace of vaccination in Catalonia, she pointed out that the immunisation of the population over 80 years of age is now being completed, and in some parts of the country people between 70 and 79 years of age have already begun to be vaccinated. The forecast is to be able to generalise the vaccination of this age group from next week on. Cabezas has celebrated, in fact, that despite the "noise" and controversy, the pace is increasing and this week the record number of vaccinations achieved last week will be beaten: 264,000.

This evening, 52,700 doses of the Moderna vaccine are expected to arrive, which will be used mainly for oncology patients, and on Monday morning, 193,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine, which is sending the most "stable" doses. Health has no confirmation of how many doses of vaccine AstraZeneca have to arrive to immunise the population between 60 and 69 years. Cabezas has insisted that they are working towards achieving the goal of having 30% of the population vaccinated in June, and 70% by the end of summer.

On the possibility of acquiring doses of the Russian vaccine Sputnik, Cabezas said that it is a "possible option", however it is ruled out for now, because it acts within the framework of the "harmonised" European strategy.