Coronavirus vaccines are beginning to arrive in health centres across Andalucía as the immunisation plan for the over 80s in the community is rolled out.
With the second dose of the Covid-19 vaccine already administered to the majority of health professionals and residents in care homes, efforts are now focused on vaccinating people over 80 years of age living at home.
For several days health staff in Malaga province have been calling the elderly to attend appointments at their local health centres.
Appointments are still being scheduled at a slow rate because the number of doses available is insufficient to cover the existing demand.
Several health professionals consulted by SUR have called for "calm" from those who have not yet received a call from their clinic saying, "There are not many doses, but we will give appointments little by little.”
They warn that it is not necessary for the elderly to call to ask when it is their turn because there is a risk that the telephone lines will be jammed and there are many people who need to contact them for important medical matters.
Almost all the doses that are reaching health centres are of the Pfizer formula, although the European Medicines Agency has approved the vaccines of two other pharmaceutical companies: Moderna and AstraZeneca. Europe is expected to grant the green light to Janssen soon, which has already applied for official clearance. Spain has bought 20.8 million injectables of this brand, which unlike the rest requires a single injection and not two.
The Junta de Andalucía announced this Tuesday (16 February) a plan that will enable the injection of half a million weekly doses - despite the fact the region does not have enough vaccines at the moment.
The Junta is demanding "around 350,000" doses a week from Madrid, compared to the approximately 130,000 currently planned.
The regional government’s spokesman, Elías Bendodo, once again demanded speed from the central government in sending deliveries and negotiating with the European Union, which distributes the doses to its member countries. Once provided by Europe, it is the central government that distributes the vaccines among the autonomous regions.
Across Spain, Andalucía is the region that has received the most injectables so far: 545,910 of which 83 per cent have administered, according to the latest data from the Ministry of Health.
During his appearance, Bendodo insisted that Andalucía has not "failed and will not fail" in this vaccination plan because "there is, without a doubt, the health and economic future of the region at stake,” being one of the most affected by the third wave.
The Junta’s Health Minister, Jesús Aguirre, also announced that the public health school has trained 14,000 extra staff to administer the vaccines when the mass vaccination plan is rolled out to larger population groups when more doses are available.
The Plan 500,000 will see university campuses, stadiums, conference centres, sporting venues and shopping centres pressed into action. Mobile units will also take the vaccination campaign out to smaller - more remote - municipalities.