Spain’s central government has given the green light to the regions to immediately begin giving the AstraZeneca vaccine to groups of "essential" workers.
This will include members of the police forces, military, firefighters and teachers - as long as they are not older than 55 years of age.
Last Friday the Ministry of Health vetoed the immunisation of people over this age with the AstraZeneca vaccine. The decision has led to a major modification of the national vaccination strategy due to the impossibility of using the AstraZeneca doses for the next target group - people aged from 80 upwards.
The government department also confirmed its decision that the 196,800 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine that arrived at the weekend and the 1,613,775 vaccines from this laboratory that are due to arrive in Spain this February will be given to "active health and social care professionals and workers" who are not on the frontline of the fight against Covid.
It clarified that included in this group are "people at risk of exposure due to their work activity" including physiotherapists, occupational therapists, pharmacy personnel, home help services, staff at centres for children, day centre personnel and workers in the prison service.
In parallel to these groups, the ministry headed by Carolina Darias has also authorised the autonomous regions to inoculate the British vaccine to a new group, which includes workers "with an essential function for society".
This group will include members of the police forces (National Police, Guardia Civil, regional police and local police); emergency personnel ("firefighters and others"); and the Armed Forces. Likewise, teaching staff - including nursery, primary, secondary and special needs - will be considered as "essential".
The new vaccination strategy includes many of the suggestions from the regions although some had asked for the inclusion of other more controversial groups such as waiters, taxi drivers, service station employees and journalists.
Health Minister Darias insisted that "the population groups that are established (by the government) and the order that is established, must be followed by the autonomous regions because they are binding on all of them."
The vast majority of regions have already completed or are about to complete the double inoculation of the first "target group" - care home residents and their caregivers and frontline health personnel in the fight against the virus.