A woman receives a coronavirus vaccine. / SUR

Spain gives the immediate green light for third Covid jabs in nursing homes

The Ministry of Health is also studying whether to give a booster for the groups vaccinated with the Janssen 'single dose' formula - which includes prison inmates

ÁLVARO SOTO

Residents in nursing homes in Spain will start receiving a third dose of the Covid-19 vaccine immediately. The country’s Public Health Commission approved the administration of this additional dose on Thursday, 16 September, after it had been requested the day before by the Vaccine Report committee and a meeting Ministry of Health and the regions.

The decision will also allow the regions to start administering the jabs immediately, instead of waiting for the pencilled-in date of 4 October.

Some 400,000 nursing home residents will receive a booster jab in the coming weeks, which will be with messenger RNA vaccines from Pfizer or Moderna.

Public Health justifies the need for this third jab to residents in centres for the elderly due to "their profile of frailty, multiple pathologies and closed environments." In addition, it has also given the go-ahead for the extra dose to all people included in Group 7 of the vaccination strategy.

Prison inmates and vulnerable

The commission is also studying the possibility that the two million people vaccinated in Spain with the Janssen ‘single-dose’ formula will also receive an extra dose.

The request for this second dose was put forward after prison authorities and the regions detected outbreaks of coronavirus among inmates, such as the one that occurred at the beginning of August at a prison in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, where 76 people were infected.

Janssen's vaccine has been used for people over 70 years of age, although later the age of use fell to those over 40. It was also administered to aid workers, maritime workers and vulnerable groups, such as homeless people or irregular immigrants.

If the Public Health Commission gives the green light to this second dose, the Ministry of Health would face the challenge of locating these vaccinated. Furthermore, it remains to be determined whether the extra jab would again be with Janssen or with an RNA vaccine.

According to Ministry of Health data, the regions still have 447,697 doses of Janssen in their refrigerators.