A woman is vaccinated against Covid-19. / EFE

Spain is ready to Covid jab the nine million people over 65 years of age again

The regions have been asked not to dismantle their mass vaccination centres, yet, so they are prepared if the third 'booster' jabs get the go-ahead

MELCHOR SÁIZ-PARDO

As the Spanish authorities wait for the European Medicines Agency's ruling on who should receive a third coronavirus 'booster' jab, the Ministry of Health has asked the regions not to dismantle their mass vaccination centres, just yet, in anticipation of giving a third dose to the nine-million people over the age of 65.

Sources have suggested that the EMA could this Monday, 4 October, "significantly" expand the group of people for whom a third dose of a Pfizer vaccine is "recommended".

Spain has already begun to revaccinate the nearly 350,000 residents of nursing homes - although without the approval of the European regulator.

Spanish authorities have said that if the EMA gives the green light to the revaccination of all those over 65 years of age new a massive administration campaign could be launched "in a matter of days or weeks at most" to reach the more than 9 million inhabitants in Spain who are over 65 years of age.

No problem

It is estimated that Spain currently has 4 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine stored in freezers and the Ministry of Health is confident that the remaining 5 million doses will arrive in a timely manner from the German-American consortium, that has more than fulfilled their commitments, after the initial production problems in January. Department officials are confident that there will be "absolutely no problem" getting the extra dose of Pfizer to everyone over the age of 65 before the end of the year.

More complex will be establishing schedules for the revaccination of the general population. In the Ministry of Health they believe it "unlikely" that the EMA, in the short term, will recommend a third jab for all those over 16 years of age. The position of the EMA in recent weeks has been the same as that of the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), which advocates that an "additional dose" should be injected to people with weakened immune systems, but "did not consider the need for a ‘booster dose’ in the general population as urgent”.

Jabs for under-12s

There is also no short-term likelihood of Spain being able to establish a vaccination schedule for children under 12 years of age. Pfizer has not yet formally submitted the results of its trials on the effects of its prophylaxis among children aged 11 to 6 years and among children aged 5 years to 6 months to the EMA.