The Spanish central government has given the green light for the national football team's players and coaching staff to be vaccinated against Covid-19.
The Ministry of Health has accepted the proposal five days before La Roja's debut against Sweden in the European Championship and after two of the 24 players named by Luis Enrique for the European Championship were confirmed positive for coronavirus: Sergio Busquets and Diego Llorente.
The jabs will be administered "very soon" by the army but experts consulted by this newspaper warn that this strategy comes too late as vaccines do not grant immunity immediately. "Vaccines take time to take effect. If you are going to receive a course of two doses, protection only begins to take effect 10 to 14 days after the second dose," says Quique Bassat, epidemiologist at ISGlobal Barcelona.
Following Busquets's positive test on Sunday, the Football Federation had requested that the players receive their vaccinations ahead of schedule. The issue was discussed in Tuesday’s Public Health Committee meeting, where it was agreed to leave the decision in the hands of the government.
The Minister for Culture and Sports, José Manuel Rodríguez Uribes, defended vaccinating the team ahead of other groups, saying: “We are not vaccinating them because they’re footballers. It’s because this is the national team and they are representing the country at a top-level competition.”
However, not all have been in agreement with this logic. The president of the Spanish Vaccinology Association and health committee member, Amos García, argued: “The players are not in the appropriate age bracket to receive the vaccine at this stage and they’re also not particularly exposed to its risks.”
Alberto Núñez Feijóo, president of the Xunta de Galicia, said. "It doesn't make sense. It should have been done much earlier."