Spanish president commits to 70% vaccination target by end of August
Pedro Sánchez pledges full inoculation for 15m by mid-June and 25m by mid-July, with 87m doses being delivered by September
The Spanish president, Pedro Sánchez, has committed to having 70% of residents fully vaccinated from the Covid-19 coronavirus by end of August, thus fulfilling the original aim set by the EU authorities.
In a press conference held on Tuesday, he pledged to reach some vaccine rollout landmarks including having fully inoculated 5 million Spaniards by the week beginning on May 3, 10 million by the first week of June, 15 million by the week beginning on June 14, 25 million by the week beginning on July 19, and 33 million residents by the end of August.
Sánchez also said that all four jabs approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) are "completely safe" and that between April and July, 38 million doses of the Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca, and Janssen jabs will arrive.
A further 48 million doses will be delivered to Spain between July and September – with jabs of the four greenlighted brands plus the CureVac one, expected to be accepted in the coming months –, meaning between all five vaccines, "87 million will arrive by September," he said.
Indeed, he said that "any resident" will have a dose available by the end of the third quarter because vaccinations will speed up from this month. By next week, Sánchez expects there to be more people in Spain fully vaccinated than the total number of cases the country has seen since the pandemic began.
"We are at the beginning of the end," added Sánchez, emphasizing that the pace of the rollout in Spain is faster than the EU average.
End of state of alarm
During his press conference, Sánchez also expressed that the current plan is to not extend the state of alarm beyond the date it is currently set to expire, May 9. Several Covid-19 restrictions are linked to this exceptional measure, such as the nightly curfew, in operation uninterruptedly since last October.
His cabinet hopes that after that date, "the current co-governance system between the Spanish governments and the regional administrations will work to respond to any eventual new outbreak and to the vaccination rollout."
Catalan authorities: ‘Things are not going well’
Catalonia’s Public Health secretary, Josep Maria Argimon, urged the Spanish government to clarify how many vaccine doses will each region receive, and when they will be delivered.
Health authorities in Catalonia have recently speeded up the inoculation campaign, reaching as many as 80,000 people on a single day, and are hopeful they can catch up and fulfill their vaccination goals if the supply chain has no further interruptions.
People aged between 70 and 79 years old will begin receiving their jabs on April 12, once 80-year-olds are vaccinated with at least one dose by the end of this week.
Residents aged between 60 and 65 years old can continue to make an appointment through the official vaccination website, with public authorities insisting on the safety of the AstraZeneca vaccine. People between the ages of 66 and 70 will receive the Janssen vaccine from Johnson-Johnson.
In the daily press conference to discuss the latest coronavirus-related updates, Argimon said that "things are not going well" in relation to new infections and, most importantly, the number of hospitalizations.
Since April 1, people admitted in Catalan hospitals due to Covid-19 have increased from 1,427 to 1,708, and the number of people in ICUs has steadily grown from March 26.