Discounts for concerts and youth hostels to incentivize vaccination on the table
Catalonia asks Spain to consider requiring Covid certificates for entry into certain establishments
The Catalan government is considering plans to offer discounts for certain events and services, such as concerts or youth hostels, to vaccinated people in an effort to encourage more people to get their Covid-19 jabs.
In an interview with Catalunya Ràdio on Tuesday morning, public health secretary Carmen Cabezas stated that authorities were looking into "incentivizing" vaccination in a way that is "fair" to those who have already been inoculated.
There are currently around a million people in Catalonia who can get Covid-19 jabs but have not yet been vaccinated.
Because of this, Cabezas explained, the health department will promote a number of other campaigns to attempt to get that number down, from calling these people one by one, to set up appointment-free vaccination centers as well as other vaccination points in strategic areas, such as universities.
From Wednesday, Barcelona's Autonomous University in Bellaterra will be the first to have one, with campuses soon to follow suit.
EU Covid-19 certificate for businesses
The Catalan health department has asked the Spanish health ministry to look into possibly requiring EU Covid-19 certificates for entry into certain establishments or events, as is the case in countries such as France or Ireland, as everyone 12 and over has already been able to get vaccinated.
According to Cabezas, however, there must be a Spain-wide strategy for this as a number of regions have already attempted to implement this measure only to have it be struck down by their High Courts.
90% vaccination rate goal
With 69.1% of the population fully vaccinated as of September 6 and Catalonia falling short of its goal of vaccinating 70% by the end of August, eventually reaching 90% "is almost impossible," says Cabezas, as around 10% of the population is under 10 years old. Despite this, she says, authorities will "try their best."
And although the worst of the 5th wave of the pandemic is now behind us, Cabezas argues that ICU figures are still too high.
There are currently 938 people hospitalized for Covid-19, of which 316 require intensive care. For Covid to be "any other illness," there would have to be 100 people in ICUs across Catalonia.
While there have been calls to ease restrictions on the nightlife sector, allowing them to reopen their indoor areas to the public, Cabezas insists that right the priority right now is to ensure students are able to return to their classes, both at universities and schools, safely, and made no mention of possibly reopening nightclubs or bars.