Spain does not meet the target of vaccinating young children

by Lorraine Williamson
vaccinating children in Spain

MADRID – Vaccinating young children in Spain is not going as well as the Spanish government hoped. Where 70% should now be vaccinated, Spain has just reached 55%. the many infections and unclear rules seem to be the main reason for this.

Prime Minister Sánchez had set himself the goal that by February 7, 70% of children would have their first shot. At the time of writing, however, the counter remains at 55.6%. Failure to meet the first goal also poses an additional challenge to meeting the second goal, which is that 70% of these children will be fully vaccinated by April 18. 

60% of purchased vaccines in Spain remain in the fridge 

It is not the stock of children’s vaccines in Spain. To date, Spain has received 4.4 million pediatric vaccines from Pfizer. More than half (60%) remains untouched in the fridge for the time being. According to figures from the Ministry of Health, there are currently 1.8 million vaccines administered. This only concerns a first injection as there is a minimum of eight weeks between the first and second injection. On December 15, 2021, the first children between the ages of 5 and 11 were vaccinated against Covid-19. This week, the children who were vaccinated for the first time will receive their second shot. 

The differences between Spanish regions are significant: only Galicia, Asturias, and Extremadura have achieved the 70% vaccination rate. In Catalonia, Ceuta, and Melilla the percentages are even below 40%. 

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Causes of a lagging vaccination percentage in Spanish children 

Experts are convinced that the lagging vaccination rate is mainly due to the many infections in Spain. Although the Spanish government and regional ministries emphasise the importance of vaccinating children, progress is hampered by the high number of infections. This is especially true among primary school children. Consequently, when children become infected, they have to wait longer before they can be vaccinated. 

However, according to experts, it is not only the many infections that are the cause of a lower vaccination rate. Confusion had also arisen between Public Health and various regional authorities as to whether children who had already had corona should still receive two shots. GPs and pediatricians received conflicting information about this and were not sufficiently supported by the government to take a clear position. According to experts, this has significantly reduced the encouragement of children to vaccinate children. 

Related post: Vaccination campaign for young children in Spain

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