Catalonia urged to authorize AstraZeneca vaccine to over 55s despite Spain’s ban
Doctors and pharmacists demand widening of current age range or at least vaccinating all essential workers
Due to a lack of research into the effects of the AstraZeneca vaccine on the elderly, the Spanish government decided to make it unavailable to people over the age of 55.
While people over the age of 55 are still able to receive the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, many health professionals have expressed disagreement with the decision to limit the distribution of AstraZeneca.
On Friday, associations of doctors (Consell de Col·legis de Metges de Catalunya) and also pharmacists (Consell de Col·legis Farmacèutics), together with physiotherapists (Col·legi de Fisioterapeutes) publicly showed their opposition to the current limitations.
"The most vulnerable population has to be the first and main priority"
Jaume Padrós · President of the Doctors' association
Jaume Padrós, the doctors’ association’s president, took to social media to say that Catalonia should administer the vaccine “to all age groups”, arguing that “there is no scientific justification” to support not doing so.
Equally, pharmacists have demanded that the Catalan ministry of health widen the age range to 65, or at least to all professionals working in pharmacies. They highlighted that other European countries have extended the range to 65, France and Germany approving the vaccine even for over 65s, on March 2 and March 4 respectively.
Also on March 2, the Spanish public health secretary Josep Maria Argimon requested that the Spanish ministry of Health expand it to “65 years at least”, saying that "it makes no sense" to vaccinate a 32-year-old teacher or police officer ahead of a 62-year-old.
Most calls for widening the age range use the argument that “the most vulnerable population has to be the first and main priority,” as expressed by Padrós, but on top of that, 25% of pharmacists, people at high risk to being infected by Covid, are also in fact over the age of 55.