Protecting the elderly: the fourth dose will be given from 26 September. / sur

Fourth dose of the Covid vaccines in Spain to be given from 26 September

Three million care home residents and over-80s will be the first to receive the vaccine, which has been adapted to protect against the Omicron variant

ÁLVARO SOTO Madrid

Three million people in Spain are set to benefit from a fourth dose of the Covid vaccine from Monday 26 September, all of them either over the age of 80 or residents of care homes.

After that, the government has announced, it will be the turn of the 12 million people, at least, who are over the age of 60.

So far, only 350,000 people in Spain have received an extra dose and that is because they are particularly vulnerable, for example undergoing cancer treatment, transplant patients or people who have Downs Syndrome and are over the age of 40.

This new campaign will be slightly different, because the fourth dose will be administered in care homes or health centres rather than in vaccine centres specifically set up for this purpose.

Modified vaccines

The vaccines will also be different this time round: they have been modified to combat the Omicron variant. The first supplies arrived in Spain on Thursday and will be distributed to the regional governments next week.

Although in July Spain registered an incidence of Covid-19 of 1,225 cases for every 100,000 inhabitants over the age of 60 (the only group which has been monitored since March), which was quite high, the Ministry of Health decided to delay the extra doses because it wanted to use the Spanish-produced Hipra vaccine. However, this is still under review and has not yet received the green light from the European Medications Agency so it was decided not to wait any longer.

The ministry also announced this week that the flu vaccine campaign will begin on 17 October, “depending on availability and epidemiological circumstances of the different regions”.