500 Covid-19 mass vaccination sites planned for Catalonia
Venues including Fira de Barcelona and possibly Camp Nou to begin operation when rollout reaches general population phase
Catalonia is to set up 500 Covid-19 mass vaccination sites across the country once those at higher risk are inoculated and the rollout moves to the general public phase.
In a press conference on Tuesday afternoon, the government said that the health system was ready to distribute 500,000 doses a week.
The interim president Pere Aragonès explained that 9,000 health professionals will be ready for the vaccination campaign if necessary, in order to reach that weekly target of a million.
Barcelona's Fira exhibition center at Plaça d'Espanya will be one of the six largest sites that will be set up once the pace of vaccinations picks up. It will have the capacity to administer 20,000 doses per day.
Other major venues will be in cities across Catalonia: the Fira de Cornellà exhibition center in Cornellà de Llobregat, the indoor athletics track in Sabadell, the Onze de Setembre sports center in Lleida, and the Fira de Girona exhibition center in Girona. A suitable site in Tarragona is still to be confirmed.
These large spaces will complement the 433 primary care centers (CAPs) and annexes that allow vaccination of up to 200,000 people a week. There will also be 46 new medium-sized venues.
The health minister Alba Vergés confirmed that talks with the new FC Barcelona president, Joan Laporta, were ongoing to open a pop-up vaccination site at the Camp Nou stadium for a "short but intense" period of time.
Big vaccine deliveries due
"Residents will be contacted via SMS or phone to get their vaccinated," Vergés said. She maintains that the aim is to have 70% of the population inoculated by late summer "if the EU strategy does not fail."
"Our vaccination strategy and rate is contingent upon available doses," she stressed.
The government are expecting some 120,000 doses to be delivered to Catalonia on March 28 and another 195,000 on April 5, which is why they believe the pace of vaccination will speed up.
Vergés also outlined that by the middle of May they plan to have vaccinated everyone over 80 years of age and that they would begin to vaccinate those aged 70 to 79 years old.
June target of 50%
Speaking to RAC1 radio station on Monday, health secretary general Marc Ramentol said that if there are no further delivery delays, 70% of the population should be inoculated "before the end of August."
He said if all goes according to plan, half of Catalonia's residents will have received "at least one dose" of a Covid-19 vaccine by June, while 30% will have had both.
Also on Monday, Spain's Public Health Committee 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.
Vaccine rollout in Catalonia
The Covid-19 vaccine rollout began on December 27, 2020, with a Pfizer-BioNTech dose given to 89-year-old care home resident Josefa Pérez.
Authorities have a stated aim of administering vaccines to 70% of the population by the end of August, which, according to them, would ensure group immunity.
According to the latest figures from the Catalan health department, as of March 22, 2021, 666,065 residents have been given the first dose of the vaccine, 8.63% of the total population. Out of those, 347,321 have also been administered the second dose (4.50% of the total population).
Anyone resident in Catalonia is entitled to receive the vaccine. To do so, they must ensure that they are registered with the public health system CatSalut.
Covid-19 vaccination progress in top priority groups (updated every Tuesday)