Catalonia hopes to vaccinate all secondary school students before term starts

Health minister wants first dose rate up from 49 to 100% by September 13

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

ACN | Barcelona

August 24, 2021 02:39 PM

Health authorities in Catalonia want to bolster Covid-19 vaccination among teenagers to ensure all secondary school students have received at least one dose by September 13, when the upcoming term is due to start.

As of August 23, 48.8% of teens aged 12 to 15 years old have been inoculated against coronavirus, and only 4.6% have been fully immunized.

With less than three weeks to go before the beginning of the semester, the Health Department wants to increase those percentages to 100% with one jab and 50% fully vaccinated.

In order to do so, about 300,000 students should get vaccinated—a feat that, as Health minister Josep Maria Argimon said in a radio interview on Tuesday, could be achieved in a single week.

Students in compulsory secondary education, or ESO, are aged 12 to 16. In some high schools, they also coexist with older students taking up Batxillerat, the two-year pre-university program.

For adolescents aged 16 to 19, the vaccination percentage stands at 66.7% with one dose, and 43.% fully immunized.

With the rapid spread of the Delta variant causing a contagion spike last July, health authorities rushed to open the vaccination rollout to teenagers, with the latest group becoming those aged 12 to 15 three weeks ago.

Vaccination slow-down

As for the overall population, 5,607,444 residents have been given the first dose of the vaccine, 70.9% of the total. Out of those, 4,447,302 have also been administered a second dose (56.4% of the total population). 5,035,710 residents are considered to be fully immunized (63.8%).

With Catalonia surpassing five million people with at least one vaccine dose last Monday, Argimon described the current vaccination percentages as "very good".

However, the speed of the rollout decreased over the summer months (from 450,000 a week to 300,000, says Argimon), with health authorities reporting fewer bookings and more people missing their appointments.

In a push to advance vaccination in the summer months, health authorities opened up the rollout to all people with no need to book a prior appointment.