Spain sets out vaccine plans including groupings prioritized for immunization stages starting in early 2021

Updated 27 November: Sanidad (Spain) has announced some technical details of their covid vaccine strategy. Spanish health minister Salvador Illa said that in order to be able to prioritize, his department had assessed fifteen population groups, identifying four for the first stage of innoculations nationally, with other groups to be prioritized in due course by the Inter-Territorial Council. To start, though, the first four groups prioritized for vaccination, anticipated to be in January to March next year, are residential care sector workers and residents, frontline health staff, other health workers, and other medically dependent individuals not in residential care.

The other groups include the elderly, severely disabled, people living or working in communities or closed environments, those living in socio-economic deprivation, essential workers like teachers, children and adolescents along with pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers, those who are HIV positive, and people living in areas where outbreaks may occur. The assessment for grouping purposes remains open, Illa confirmed, and is subject to continuous adaptation based on available scientific information.

The Health Secretary stressed, however, that this is not going to be a quick process and that vaccination, even when underway, is going to be in stages that will take considerable time. Vaccines in the first stage will be in very limited supplies, and other groups will be immunized according to their prioritization in progressive second and third stages, as vaccine doses arrive and become available, and as information on vaccine characteristics and immunity increases. This is going to go on well into next year, if not beyond, in case anyone was thinking that vaccine availability meant some sort of silver bullet to put an end to covid.

Original post 10 November: Spanish Health minister Salvador Illa, on television this morning, has said that he thinks the announcement of a potential vaccine from Pfizer is promising and significant. Illa said that assuming clinical trials do indeed result in the vaccine being approved, Spain will be able to provide 10m immunizations free of charge from early 2021. The country intends to buy 20m initial doses, Illa explained, but each person will require two vaccinations.

Illa said that he imagined that the elderly and frontline workers would be first to be offered the vaccine but that a working group had been established to consider this and the decision had not yet been made. Also under consideration is the way in which to deal with antivax conspiracy theories, with the vaccine not intended to be compulsory in the first instance but with the Government prepared to take action against liars and the anti-scientific as needed. The minister refused to rule out the possibility that vaccination would become compulsory but said he felt sure that the public would overwhelmingly behave with sense and responsibility because people generally understood perfectly well that vaccines worked and have brought some diseases under good control or, in some cases, eradicated them completely.

We can begin to see a light at the end of the tunnel after some very hard months, said the Minister, confirming strongly again that the Government will act emphatically against “those who lie and promote pseudoscience”.

12 Comments

  1. Personal view….. The residents/staff of care homes and the “elderly” are not the gedders & spreaders…?
    Young people like us between 16 & 72 (!!) are the problem. We are the ones who want to get out and mingle… Mingling and Minglers are the ones to be stopped from getting it and passing it on.
    Cut the problem off at the roots…… Oooooh that sounds painful!!

  2. I don’t see any reason not to protect the most vulnerable in society as a priority. Aren’t they as important as the minglers? Just my personal view.

  3. Author

    My personal view is that the quality of a society can to a large extent be measured by how they treat the vulnerable. A civilised society will ensure that those who are unable to look after themselves will be protected by those who have the power to protect them. What is the point of talking about “society” if everyone just looks after their own selfish interests? I would be ashamed to live like that, there would be no point.

  4. The point may be being missed here…. I’m not advocating “Failing to protect the vulnerable”, in fact I’m questioning the most effective method and quickest way of protecting both them and the entire population.
    Let me put it in a different context. If, heaven forfend, the island is threatened by a massive fire, do you send all your resources to protect the towns or do you go after the main fire to protect the entire island?
    This virus is very similar to that fire. It is unpredictable, shifts frequently and is fanned by the winds of a certain portion of the populace. Therefore, surely it is better to remove that which is fanning the flames by inoculating that portion of the populace that is the wind at the heart of the fire?
    (Please bear in mind, both my wife and I are in that portion of the populace who would be considered “At Risk”, purely due to our age…. but we both feel this path would be effectively quicker in protecting, both us and others like us, than having the younger folks risk mutating the virus and having to start again.)

  5. Re the point above, I get it entirely and it’s not an unreasonable approach at all. Where it falls down in my view is that there will be a significant proportion (maybe even a majority) of the young, fit and healthy population, that won’t bother having the vaccine.

    You therefore don’t get the protection of the more vulnerable that the approach is aiming to achieve

  6. The vulnerable sector is a lot smaller than the general population, so you can reduce the hospitalisation and death rates quicker by vaccinating the vulnerable first.

  7. Another issue which still is to be resolved is whether the vaccine would prevent those who have been immunised from passing on the virus to those who haven’t been vaccinated. The experts still are unsure about that. The vulnerable would be even more vulnerable should those who have been vaccinated become devil may care because they themselves are protected. Vaccination would have to be extensive throughout the population to get anywhere near the elusive herd immunity. That will take some considerable time and so the argument is clear that the most vulnerable have to be protected first. Also that order is favoured by the subject experts who presumably have good reason for setting the priorities as they have done.

  8. Author

    And just to throw into the mix that Canarian President Ángel Torres said yesterday in an interview that he doesn’t expect things to be back to normal here until this time next year, at earliest. I’m afraid that when he said that I had an automatic reaction and reversion to Only Fools and Horses, and found myself hearing Delboy saying “this time next year Rodney we’ll be millionaires” …

  9. May I point out that Snowbird666 is not connected in any way with the original Snowbird 😂😂

  10. Yes there lots of snowbirds that come to Tenerife for the winter!

  11. Are you aware of the significance of the number 666 and its association? If you are not aware, after some research, you may wish to reconsider your pseudonym 😂

  12. A good number for a devil’s advocate!

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