Spain among European countries with highest vaccination readiness

by Deborah Cater
Vaccination readiness high in Spain

The Spanish government may not have to worry about herd immunity once the vaccination campaign has ended. Virtually all healthcare personnel have been vaccinated, meaning mandatory vaccination within healthcare in Spain is not an issue.

The situation is different in countries such as France and Greece. There healthcare staff are now obliged to vaccinate in view of the rising infection rates. In France, only 60% of healthcare professionals are vaccinated, while in Spain it is 98%. In the Hospital Virgen del Rocío in Seville, more than 99% of the 9,000 employees voluntarily vaccinated.

Own-choice principle for vaccination

Health Minister Darias considers personal choice to be one of the most important principles in the vaccination campaign. Because the willingness to vaccinate among healthcare workers is so high (ranging from 88% to 100% per region), Spain can keep to this self-choice principle. Within Europe, Spain is among the frontrunners when it comes to the highest vaccination willingness among the population.

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Still, experts believe the maximum should be done to get the vaccination rate as high as possible. That things can go wrong otherwise became clear last May when a fully vaccinated woman died in a nursing home in Esponellà (Girona) after being infected with the corona virus. Of the 37 health care workers, 17 had refused the vaccine at that time. There have been more examples of institutions where the virus hit because not all employees were vaccinated.

Exception to the rule

Now it is only necessary to look for a solution in exceptional cases where too many employees have not been vaccinated. For example, the regional government of the Balearic Islands published a regulation that makes vaccination mandatory for a given population group if the situation warrants it. Until now, that has not been the case.

Only the region of Galicia prefers a general vaccination obligation over the self-choice principle. Last March, this proposal was submitted to the Constitutional Court, but the Ministry of Health appealed. Then-government spokesman María Jesús Montero said basic civil rights should only be curtailed with a national amendment. All other regions agree with the ministry that any change a regional government wants to implement must first be submitted to the inter-territorial health council.

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