No Easter break for vaccinations in Spain as case numbers rise

With the arrival of 1 million vaccine doses, Spain's immunisation campaign will continue in all regions over the Easter break. [Brais Lorenzo]

Vaccinations against COVID-19 will continue in Spain over the Easter period as coronavirus case numbers climb again to pass the nationwide threshold of 150 cases per 100,000 people, placing the country in the highest risk level. EURACTIV’s partner EFE reports.

With the arrival of 1 million vaccine doses Wednesday evening, the country’s immunisation campaign will continue in all regions over the Easter break. While some regions will keep their health centres open, others will vaccinate people only in specially established venues.

Spanish Health Minister Carolina Darias said this week that the AstraZeneca vaccine will be administered to people below 65, while other vaccines, including Pfizer, Moderna, and soon the Janssen vaccine, will be used for people above that age.

The Spanish health ministry has reported 8,534 COVID-19 infections and 154 related deaths within 24 hours, bringing the cumulative incidence rate to 152.2 cases per 100,000 inhabitants for the first time since early March. However, the occupation rate in intensive care units (ICU) lies at 18.4%, while hospitals remain at 6.5% capacity, according to the health ministry’s latest figures. 

Spanish authorities have called on the country’s regional governments to “rigorously and strictly” respect the extraordinary measures, such as nightly curfews or travel restrictions among regions, over the Easter break.

Citizens should show “responsibility and precaution” to avoid contacts that are not strictly necessary and limit movements, said Spanish government spokesperson María Jesús Montero. Yet, while many health experts have already been referring to a “fourth wave”, Montero avoided the term, expressing the hope that the current upward trend “does not consolidate”.

“What we want is to consolidate the decreasing trend that we had before these recent days and for us to be able to definitively leave this pandemic behind through mass vaccination,” the minister told a press conference.

According to the health ministry’s data, about 2.7 million people, or 5% of the Spanish population have so far been vaccinated. 

[Edited by Daniel Eck, Paula Kenny and Josie Le Blond]

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