Spain is one of the largest countries worldwide with the highest vaccination rate

by Lorraine Williamson
highest vaccination rate in Europe

MADRID – In Spain, 25.9 million inhabitants are now fully vaccinated, which is 54.7% of the population. This percentage is the highest vaccination rate over countries such as the United Kingdom, America, Germany or France. And also considerably higher than the European average. 

Spain surpassed England in the percentage of fully vaccinated residents last Thursday, according to data from the Ministry of Health. Spain is still closely followed by England and the vaccination rate is also high in Canada and Chile. 

If smaller countries are also included, Malta leads the way with a vaccination rate of 83.6% (fully vaccinated). Iceland follows in second place with 74.3%. Countries such as Hungary, Uruguay, the United Arab Emirates and Israel also have a higher vaccination rate than Spain, but also have fewer than 10 million inhabitants. 

Spain above European average 

Within the Eurozone, 46.2% of the population has now received the second shot. In Germany this is 49%, in Italy 38% and in France 44%. Spain is therefore well above this with almost 55%. Last Thursday, 46% of the population in the Netherlands was fully vaccinated. Almost all Spanish autonomous regions succeeded in immediately squeezing the available stocks from the delivery of the vaccines. Apart from the interruption of vaccinations with the AstraZeneca vaccine, there has been no significant setback in the Spanish campaign. The willingness to vaccinate among the Spanish population is also relatively high. 

Vaccination Culture 

Unlike other European countries such as France, the Spanish government has not had to impose a reward or obligation to persuade people to get vaccinated. Even among the young, the percentage of vaccine refusals is minimal. According to José Antonio Forcada of the Spanish Association of Nursing and Vaccination (Anevac), the high willingness to vaccinate is a logical consequence of the “vaccination culture” in Spain. Worldwide, Spain is one of the countries where most children have been vaccinated against childhood diseases. 

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More Moderna vaccines on the way 

Last week, more than three million shots were taken in Spain. The previous week, July 4, the campaign set a weekly record with 4 million shots. In the weeks that followed, the pace slowed slightly as fewer vaccines became available. Throughout June, Spain received 2.4 million doses of Pfizer vaccine weekly, in July there were 1.7 million weekly. In the month of August, a weekly delivery of 900,000 Moderna vaccines (that is twice as much as is currently the case) will compensate for this. 

Group immunity not before the end of the year 

At the current pace, Spain is on track to reach its latest campaign goal, which is to have 70% of the population fully vaccinated by the end of August. If this target is unexpectedly not achieved, it will still be the case in the first half of September. 

In order to vaccinate an even higher percentage (80-90%), which may be necessary to achieve herd immunity against new virus variants, all children under the age of 12 will also have to be vaccinated. They make up 11% of the Spanish population. They are not yet included in the vaccination campaign, which is the case for all teenagers. 

According to Forcada, the vaccination rate will drop drastically if all residents who want a vaccination have already received it. The last group, which are the most difficult to reach people, will not be vaccinated until later or not at all. This is why Forcado does not expect actual herd immunity to have been achieved in Spain before the end of 2021. 

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