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Government against obligatory Covid jabs: 'This is not necessary'

Vaccination rate stuck at 75% as Covid incidence over 14 days under 50 for first time in 15 months

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18 October 2021 03:30 PM

by

ACN|Barcelona

Catalan health minister Josep Maria Argimon is against making Covid vaccinations compulsory, as is the case for employees of both private and public companies in Italy.

The debate is on in Catalonia, with business association Pimec calling for workers who reject getting vaccinated or taking a Covid test before going to their places of employment to be suspended without pay.

Yet, Argimon said in a press conference on Monday that forcing the public to get the vaccine would be "counterproductive" and added that the measure "is not necessary."

The Catalan health minister said that persuading people to get vaccinated should, instead, be done by appealing to a sense of civic duty. 

According to him, Catalonia has one of the highest vaccination rates worldwide – despite the fact that it has only increased by 2.5 percentage points in the past month.

As of October 17, 2021, 5,946,872 residents have been given the first dose of the vaccine, 75% of the total population. Out of those, 5,107,692 have also been administered a second dose (64.6% of the total population). 5,828,424 residents are considered to be fully immunized (73.5% of the total population and 82.3% out of those aged 12 or more, that is, those who are allowed to get the jab).

At the moment, the main pandemic indicators are still at their best levels since summer 2020.

For instance, the incidence rate over the last 14 days (IA14) is now under 50 people per 100,000 inhabitants with the virus for the first time since early July 2020. On October 17, 2021, the IA14 was 45.49.

Other figures, such as the outbreak risk and transmission rate, also continue to decrease. The former, which is calculated using the EPG index found by multiplying the average spread of the virus over the past seven days by the cumulative incidence over the past two weeks, is now 'moderate' at 37 and approaching 'low'.

An outbreak risk of below 30 is considered to be 'low', while above 30 is 'medium'. 100 and over is 'high' risk and authorities deem anything above 200 to be 'very high' risk. After peaking at 1,828 on July 9 due to the spread of the highly contagious Delta variant, the index began to decline steadily. 

The transmission rate, meaning the number of people infected per person diagnosed with the virus, is now 0.85, while a transmission rate of over 1 concerns health authorities. 

The number of hospitalized Covid-19 patients is now also under control as there are a total of 345 people, down from the 2,292 on August 1, the peak of the Covid fifth wave. Of these, 91 require ICU care, while on August 9 there were 596 who did. 

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  • A teen receiving a coronavirus vaccine jab in Manresa (by Gemma Aleman)

  • A teen receiving a coronavirus vaccine jab in Manresa (by Gemma Aleman)

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