Janssen – turning point in the vaccination campaign in Spain

by Lorraine Williamson
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MADRID – Just hours after the EMA‘s verdict, Spain decided to distribute the first supply of Janssen vaccines across the Spanish regions on Wednesday. Tuesday was also the day of two other important moments in the vaccination campaign in Spain. 

Today, April 21 is the day the Spanish government will distribute Janssen vaccines across the autonomous regions. The previous day, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) acknowledged thrombosis and platelet deficiency could be a very rare side effect of the Janssen vaccine. As a result, this is now included as a warning in the package leaflet. Therefore, this means each country can now make an informed choice whether to use this vaccine.

Janssen vaccine means speed for vaccination speed Spain 

Spain decided to use the Janssen vaccine a few hours after the EMA judgment. As such, from today, the first supply of 146,000 doses will be distributed across the Spanish regions. Vaccination with Janssen represents a significant advance in the vaccination campaign. This is because one dose is sufficient for reasonable protection against Covid-19. The Ministry of Health already announced it will initially use the Janssen vaccine for people between 70-79 years old.

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Is Spain postponing second injection? 

Earlier this week, Public Health also has a new vision of the vaccination strategy with vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna. The idea was to postpone the second injection in order to be able to give more people a first shot. This strategy is already being implemented in the United Kingdom, France, Italy, Finland, Germany and Denmark.

On Tuesday evening, Health Minister Darias announced that she would not postpone the administration of the second dose. In doing so, Spain follows the guidelines set by the manufacturers. The EMA also previously stated that they have only conducted research at the specified intervals and therefore, cannot guarantee the same level of protection when countries delay a second injection. For Pfizer, there should be an average of 21 days between the first and second injection. And for Moderna, the interval is 28 days.

Major turning point in Spain 

At the time of writing, 20.2% of the Spanish population has been vaccinated at least once and 7.3% have already had both injections. Tuesday was the moment when the number of fully vaccinated people in Spain (3,452,119) exceeded the number of positive people in Spain since the start of the pandemic (3,435,840 according to official figures from the Ministry of Health).

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