While awaiting a new vaccination plan for the over-65s, all residents of Spain born between 1942 and 1956 will see both the generations before and after them get their corona vaccination earlier.
While this age group is a risk group for developing severe symptoms or even death, the uncertainty remains high about when they will be protected by a corona vaccine. Spain is one of the few countries that only administer the AstraZeneca vaccine in people under the age of 65.
The sandwich in between
As it looks now, it will be the turn of the over-70s from media April at the earliest. As of last week, Spain has started the vaccination of the 55 to 65 age group with the AstraZeneca vaccine. The campaign for the over-80s with the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine has also not yet been completed. In the region of Catalonia, less than 40% of the over-80s have now been vaccinated.
6.5 million people in risk group have to wait
In Spain, 6.5 million people live in the age category of 65 to 79 years. From the beginning of March, when the effectiveness of the AstraZeneca vaccine for the elderly was scientifically confirmed, most European countries also included the over-65s in the vaccination campaign with the AstraZeneca vaccine. In the UK, people over 65 were given this vaccine from the start of the campaign. Spain decided to raise the age limit for the AstraZeneca vaccine alone from 55 to 65 years.
AstraZeneca for people with essential professions
Health Minister Carolina Darias said in an interview with El País that the age limit would not be raised. Because the vaccine was only tested on younger people it is therefore only being used in Spain to vaccinate people with essential professions.
Of all people who died from covid-19 from June last year, 20% were between the ages of 70 and 79. More than 64% were older than. 80. 9.2% were between the ages of 60 and 70 and 3.5% were between the ages of 50 and 59. Only 1.4% were younger than 50. This unmistakably illustrates that the chance of death after being infected with the coronavirus increases proportionally with age.
Speed of the vaccination plan depends on the region
If the Spanish Health Commission maintains its decision not to raise the age limit for the AstraZeneca vaccine, the 6.5 million people between 65 and 79 years old will have to wait for the campaigns for the over-80s and those over 55. up to and including 64 years have been completed. How fast this goes depends on region. In Andalusia, the region where the vaccination campaign has been most successful so far, it will probably be the turn of the over-65s from mid-April. People over 65 in Catalonia, the region where the campaign is most difficult, will have to wait at least another month.
Speed up from April onwards
According to the vaccination plan, 80% of all over-80s in Spain should have been vaccinated by the end of March. According to data that El País has received from the regional Ministries of Health, this is now only 60%. The pace is expected to accelerate sharply from April, as Spain will receive 1.2 million doses of Pfizer vaccines every week from then on. That is enough to vaccinate almost half of all people over 80 living at home in a week.
The most unfortunate are people in the 65 to 69 age group. They first have to wait until the nearly three million over-70s in Spain have been vaccinated. But for them too, the time of vaccination depends on the region. According to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, the uneven course of regional vaccination campaigns is Spain’s biggest stumbling block on the way to herd immunity.