SPAIN. Madrid: Spain is one of the countries that has been hard-hit by COVID-19, recording more than 57,000 deaths from nearly 2.7 million cases till date. Ministers and authorities in Spain had expected to vaccinate about 70 per cent of Spain’s population by the end of summer. Over 1.3 million doses to a priority group of care-home residents and front-line medics have already been administered the vaccine. 10% of them have already received a second jab. But it looks very unlikely as Spain became the first country to partly suspend immunizations for lack of doses. Madrid region has announced that the vaccination drive has to be suspended for at least two weeks because of a lack of doses. The delays are expected to affect high-risk groups who have not yet received their first vaccination.
Addressing a press conference on Wednesday, Ignacio Aguado, the vice-president of Madrid’s regional government with more than 6 million inhabitants said, “We know that there is no time to lose in a pandemic. But there is nothing that the authorities can do as supplies from almost every pharmaceutical company have been delayed. The good news is that the process of administering a second vaccination in the Madrid region to the elderly, care home workers, and health professionals, who have already received their first jab, will continue.”
He said that this will drastically affect the fight against COVID-19, as at the current rate, only 10 per cent of the Madrid region’s population would be vaccinated by June and there will be a delay till 2023 for the remaining 90 per cent.
The Madrid region has already vaccinated 180,000 people since the campaign started, Aguado said. He added that health authorities would use its remaining BioNtech-Pfizer doses to administer the second jab to people who had already received the first one. The second dose is a priority as there is the chance that the virus could mutate and become resistant if it is not administered on time, and that would lengthen the fight against the pandemic,” added Aguado.
Catalonia, Spain’s second most important region, also have one days stock left with them, said, Josep Maria Argimon, Public Health secretary of the Catalan regional government (the Generalitat) during a press conference. He sounded worried as he added, “Moderna is late, Pfizer is sending fewer vaccines, and we’ve no news from AstraZeneca,” he added.
Shortage of vaccines in EU
It is to be noted here that entire EU is currently seeing a shortage of coronavirus vaccines. The EU signed deals with Pfizer-BioNTech and AstraZeneca for 600million and 300million doses respectively, but both companies have fallen short of the amount because of production issues. Moderna has also delayed delivery of its deal of 160million vaccines to some European countries.