Children's jabs to take place in vaccination sites and by appointment only
Pediatric doses to be given from December 15 but not in schools, as health department reports 5 Omicron cases
Children in Catalonia aged between 5 and 11 will not receive their Covid jabs at school, but in regular vaccination sites, primary care centers and hospitals.
This was confirmed by the public health secretary, Carmen Cabezas, on Thursday in the weekly press conference on the pandemic.
She said that the rollout will be done only by appointment, and bookings for the whole 5 to 11 age range – and not staggered – will open at some point next week in the website vacunacovid.catsalut.gencat.cat in time to begin with the vaccinations on December 15.
If someone other than the parents accompany the child, they will need written consent.
Catalonia will receive 234,000 Pfizer pediatric doses next week, with more coming in January, and those eligible will be sent a text message if the health system has a phone number linked to the individual.
Eight weeks between doses
Spain's public health committee approved the use of the Pfizer pediatric Covid-19 vaccine for children aged between 5 and 11 years old on December 7.
Authorities will offer the second dose eight weeks after the first one to children, with authorities preferring to have as much population as possible with one jab – Pfizer proposed administering two doses to children with 28 days between the shots.
5 Omicron variant cases
During the press conference on Thursday, Catalan health authorities also confirmed five Omicron variant cases in the country – three individuals are added to the two already announced last week.
Cabezas said that all five cases are passengers arriving at Barcelona El Prat airport from southern African countries, and that no transmission of the new strain within Catalonia has been detected yet.
Covid-19 transmissions up but restrictions not tightened
Many key Covid-19 indicators are worsening as the sixth wave of the pandemic continues to grip Catalonia.
For more on the sixth wave of coronavirus in Catalonia, including Covid certificate FAQs, travel rules, the Omicron variant and forecast for Christmas, take a listen to our recent podcast below.
The number of people hospitalized due to the virus has increased by 211 people over the past week, from 694 to 905, an increase of 30%.
Equally, the number of patients requiring intensive care has risen in tandem, from 148 to 198 in the same time period, a jump of some 33%.
The IA14, indicating the number of positive cases seen over the past fortnight per 100,000 population, has also increased significantly in recent weeks.
The past seven days have seen the incidence rate jump from 258 to 374. Just one month ago, this metric stood at around 63, showing a rise of almost 500% since early November.
The Catalan government requested on Tuesday that the High Court approve a two-week extension on the use of Covid certificates to enter bars, cafes, restaurants, gyms and care homes, without any further tightening of restrictions.
If the magistrates grant it, the measure would be in place until Christmas Eve, December 24, with further prolongations possible.