MADRID: Spanish regional governments do not have to adhere to the Ministry of Health protocol for their vaccination strategy, once all vulnerable groups and healthcare personnel receive their vaccinations.
The regions must therefore initially take into account the risk criteria for death and further spread of the coronavirus. Subsequently, they are free to choose their own vaccination strategy.
A clear strategy for the order in which the Spanish population will be vaccinated has not yet been specified by the Inter-territorial Health Council, which includes all autonomous regions together with the Ministry of Health. This allows for a free interpretation of the urgency for different population groups.
First groups of people in vaccination strategy
First, it will be nursing home residents and care personnel across Spain to receive the vaccine. Other employees in covid-19 care and the over-80s will follow. It is likely it will then be the turn of the over-70s and the seriously ill, depending on the protocols the individual regions will draw up themselves.
Priority for catering staff and taxi drivers?
In principle, this paves the way for the controversial proposal by regional president Isabel Díaz Ayuso of Madrid. She wants to vaccinate all catering workers and taxi drivers after the most vulnerable groups. Last Monday, Díaz Ayuso openly raised the question of whether the professions most exposed to the coronavirus should not be dealt with first. Among these are teachers, waiters and taxi drivers.
The Ministry of Health stated the groups to be vaccinated and when they are vaccinated must be defined by scientists. Further consultations will follow with the Interterriorial Council for Public Health. That should ultimately lead to a generally applicable protocol.
No EU vaccination protocol
Lawyer and doctor of health sciences Julio Sánchez Fierro believes there should be a general European Union vaccination protocol. After all, it is the EU that coordinates the purchasing and subsequent distribution of the vaccines. However, a European regulation states that Member States themselves must regulate health issues in terms of policy, funding and formalities. The European Union can fulfill an exploratory, but not an executive, function.