Fernando Simón, director of the Spanish Corona Coordination and Crisis Centre (CCAES) sees no need for vaccination and testing obligations for access to certain indoor areas.
Simón made the comments as he received the IX Trevillano Prize and I gold medal from Villafeliche (Zaragoza) on Saturday. He addressed the current controversial issues in the fight against the coronavirus, both in Spain and at European level.
He confirmed he does not consider it necessary to impose mandatory vaccination. Simón also does not consider it appropriate to make a Covid certificate mandatory for mobility reasons; nor as an access requirement to certain indoor spaces.
“The current coverage we have does not require an act by law requiring vaccination”, Simón said. “Spain is the country with almost the best coverage in all Europe and one of the best in the world”. He immediately added “it has never been necessary here to oblige the vaccines normally provided and nevertheless have we always achieved the best coverage in the world”.
On the case of nursing homes, Simón said there is coverage of “well above 90%, up to 97% in some cases; which is very good. Although it is true,” he acknowledged, “there is still a small number of the people who have not yet been vaccinated. And then there are the few who, even if they have been vaccinated, do not develop immunity.
Restrictions without vaccine or test
Spain’s most famous epidemiologist also spoke of the restrictions on access to certain interior spaces. Some Autonomous Communities are trying to establish these particularly in catering. In some countries such as Italy and France, restrictions are also extended to leisure spaces and public transport. Simón finds it inconvenient to require the Covid certificate at a general level in Spain.
According to Simón, a Covid certificate in Italy or France is justified. This is because in those countries “not everyone who needed to be vaccinated was vaccinated”. Something that, according to him, is not the case in Spain. Here citizens have understood that, in addition to protecting individuals, the vaccine “helps society get out of this huge problem.”
Simón is also confident that when the summer is over, the percentage of Spaniards vaccinated will be over 70%. He added if vaccination among the youngest residents continues as it has, Spain can be said to be “already there” at the end of the fifth wave.
This wave, he says, has “a much smaller global impact than others” as lethality was “much lower”. Although some ICU units in Spanish hospitals are certainly under great pressure.
He also recalled the original purpose of the certificate was to facilitate travel between countries, mainly within the EU. He therefore pointed out that “imposing obligations when they are not needed is not a good move. It also deprives authorities of weapons in case they are needed in the future”.
Third dose of vaccine
Regarding the request from social services to conduct an immunological study in old people’s homes and to consider a third dose of vaccination, Simón admitted that option is on the table. “It is one of the things we have to decide in the coming weeks, based on a good evaluation of the information obtained.”
In any case, the CCAES director wanted to make it clear “we will only administer a third dose if solid scientific data tells us it is necessary.” He hopes by the end of the summer vaccination levels in Spain will exceed 70%.