Spain agrees to give Pfizer second jabs to those under 60 who had a first of AstraZeneca

File photograph.
File photograph. / SUR
  • A trial involving 600 volunteers found that combining both vaccines is safe, although people between 60 and 69 years old will complete their schedule with the Oxford formula

One of biggest unknowns of Spain's coronavirus vaccination campaign has been resolved. This Tuesday, 18 May, the country's Ministry of Health and the regions agreed to administer a second dose of the Pfizer vaccine to those under 60 who have already received a first injection of AstraZeneca.

The decision was made by the country's Public Health Commission after a proposal from the Ministry of Health, which was supported by a report from the Carlos III Health Institute that conducted trials on combining the two vaccines. The report concluded that giving a second dose of the Pfizer vaccine to those who have already received AstraZeneca is "safe" and produces a "highly immune" response.

This second differentiated dose will only be administered to those under 60 years of age including essential workers such as teachers and police officers who received their first injection of the AstraZeneca vaccine before it was withdrawn among people below that age due to “very rare” side effects of thrombosis.

Those between the ages of 60 and 69 who have received a first jab of AstraZeneca will be vaccinated with the same brand again for their second dose as it is the only age group for which it is approved.

Ahead of the meeting, some regions such as Andalucía and Madrid had shown their intention to continue vaccinating with AstraZeneca. The Andalusian health minister, Jesús Aguirre, had said: “Vaccines cannot be left sitting in the fridge. They only work when they are jabbed in the arm.”

In the long debate, both regions were once again the ones that showed the greatest resistance to accepting the Ministry of Health proposal, considering that the trial, on which the decision was made, was carried out among just over 600 volunteers, and is not representative.

In Malaga there are about 150,000 people waiting for a second dose after receiving the AstraZeneca vaccine. Most are essential workers who were given the Oxford formula before the blood clotting issues changed the Interterritorial Council criteria, which decided to restrict this vaccine those aged between 60 and 70 years old.