With less than two-thirds of under 40s fully vaccinated, authorities call on age group to get jabs
Catalan health department to call one million people to encourage vaccination
Authorities are now focusing their efforts on vaccinating the 12 to 39 age group, with inoculation rates significantly lower than amongst older segments of the population.
None of the five age categories into which those over 11 and under 40 have been divided into have completely vaccinated two thirds of their members.
For instance, 62.5% of those between 12 and 15 have received one dose, with only 41.5% having completed their vaccination – the rollout for this group opened on August 4.
The full inoculation rate for the rest of under 40s approaches two thirds but still falls short, with all of the older groups and specific categories, such as health workers, essential workers and care home residents surpassing 80%.
Authorities hope to have two-thirds of students fully vaccinated once the school year begins next Monday.
Overall, 69.3% of residents in Catalonia have either received either two jabs or a single-dose if only one is needed – this figure is 77.6% amongst those 12 and over.
Because of this, on Wednesday, the health department strongly encouraged people to get vaccinated, especially people under 40.
Measures to encourage vaccinations
Calling one million residents is one of the measures Catalan authorities will take, as well as sending texts, setting up vaccination sites where appointments are not needed – such as on the Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB) campus – and offering the jab when patients go to hospitals for other reasons.
She also said that ways to point out the value in getting protected against Covid-19 are being considered, but said "discounts" on cultural activities are not on the cards, despite having suggested it in a recent interview.
According to her, other ways of promoting the vaccine, including requiring the EU Covid Certificate to participate in certain activities or events, are being discussed in Spain-wide committees.
Despite this latest call to encourage vaccination, public health secretary Carmen Cabezas said that Catalonia "is among the countries with the best vaccination rates worldwide."
Tests for close contacts from Monday
During Wednesday's press conference, officials also insisted on the fact that the Delta variant transmits the virus "much faster" than Alpha does, and added that they advise close contacts to get a PCR around 4 days after potentially becoming infected.
Indeed, close contacts of Covid-19 patients are once again required to get tested for the virus from Monday, including those who are fully vaccinated or schoolchildren, as announced by health authorities on Friday.
Compulsory tests for close contacts were dropped during the fifth wave of the pandemic last July, when infection rates skyrocketed to record-shattering levels and primary care centers were overwhelmed by the influx of Covid-19 patients.
The health authorities also said that around 15,000 people in Catalonia will be required to get a third dose of Covid-19, as a result of Spain's recent decision to allow a booster on those immunocompromised.
This extra dose will be organized from Catalan hospitals in the coming weeks, as soon as the coordination body between Spain's and regional administrations greenlights it.