Spain authorises use of AstraZeneca vaccine for adults up to age 65
Age cap of 55 was previously placed on the jab over safety and efficacy concerns
Spain's Public Health Committee has approved the AstraZeneca vaccine for use for adults up to the age of 65.
Catalonia's health department will begin administering the jab to the population aged 60-65 from Wednesday.
Administration of the specific vaccine was halted for those over the age of 55 due to safety and efficacy concerns.
Catalan health authorities railed against the decision, arguing "it makes no sense" to vaccinate a 32-year-old teacher or police officer ahead of 62-year-old.
Sources do not rule out that the vaccination limit could be extended further to the age of 70, but details surrounding this are still being worked on. The decision will have to be formally approved by the interterritorial health council, which will meet this afternoon at 6 p.m.
At a meeting of the interterritorial health council, the group ratified the resumption of use of the AstraZeneca vaccine for all ages, after it was completely paused due to fears it was linked to blood clots, but administration of the vaccine resumes this week following a report from the European Medicines Agency last week greenlighting its safety.
Catalan authorities push for its authorization
Catalan health authorities had insisted on the need to begin administering the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine to people over 55 for weeks despite Spain's ban on giving it to that age group.
Alba Vergés, the Catalan health minister, and Josep Maria Argimon, the public health secretary, stated in an article published by La Vanguardia newspaper that it cannot "wait much longer."
"The health of our citizens is at stake. Either they make a move or we will," they affirmed, lamenting what they describe as the Spanish health ministry's failure to change its protocol on the basis of new evidence.
Both Vergés and Argimon believe the vaccine is safe and effective for those over the age of 55 and urge Spain to take action as other European countries have done, especially given the slow rollout due in part to the insufficient number of Pfizer doses currently available.
Catalan health authorities argue the Spanish government must "do its job, which is to ensure there are enough doses to vaccinate the greatest number of people possible."