Society 09/09/2021

Health Dpt hopes to start the school year with two thirds of pupils over the age of 12 fully vaccinated

Walk-in vaccination points to be opened at the main Catalan universities

Clara López Alcaide
2 min
A class with ESO students at the Cristòfol Despuig secondary school in Tortosa.

BarcelonaTo start the school year with two thirds of students fully vaccinated. This is one of the short-term objectives of the Department of Health, which estimates that 68% of the school-age population - aged between 12 and 19 years - has received a dose of the vaccine and 53%, more than half, have already received the full course of vaccination against covid. Figures which, as noted by the Secretary of Public Health, Carmen Cabezas, on Wednesday at a press conference, are expected to increase in the coming days. The Health Dpt, however, also wants to accelerate vaccination in the community of university students, and for this reason the department will install walk-in vaccination points "in most" universities in the territory. The first that has been launched is the Bellaterra campus of the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB), which opened on Wednesday.

With most of the indicators of the pandemic down, the efforts of the Health Dpt are focused on reaching those people who have not yet received the vaccine against covid-19, especially the youngest. According to Cabezas, Catalonia could reach 70% of the vaccinated population in the next few hours, but remarks that there are still some groups that are hesitant. "People are still finding it hard to come", she admitted on Wednesday at a press conference. "The system is ready, appointments are being offered, but it is hard for people to come", she added. Cabezas has remarked that increasing vaccination would help to face autumn "with the maximum normality possible" and help the health system to not collapse in October and recover all the activity dedicated to other pathologies. "September is the best time", she insisted.

To boost vaccination among these age groups, Cabezas has not ruled out offering incentives to those vaccinated. "We are talking to all departments to explore the possibility of seeing what we can do to boost vaccination", she said. "We are not thinking about giving out something, but about how we can get the different sectors to help get the need for vaccination across", she added. On whether the covid passport could be one of the tools to speed up the pace of vaccination, Cabezas said that "it is a measure that cannot be implemented at a autonomous community level" and that, therefore, it would have to be studied at a state level, while she assured that Health is not thinking of, for now, offering discounts for people who are vaccinated.

15.000 patients will receive the third dose

Cabezas has also put the number of severely immunosuppressed people who will receive an additional third dose of the vaccine at 15,000 after it was approved by the Public Health Commission yesterday. These are people who have received transplants or who are undergoing treatments that weaken the immune system. The Secretary of Public Health has indicated that once the inter-territorial council approves this third dose "it will begin to articulate its administration as soon as possible", because the vaccines are available. On the possibility of extending this booster vaccination to other groups, such as the elderly in nursing homes or others in the high-risk group, Cabezas said that the commission will analyse the vaccines and that reports will be issued regarding this.