Spain expects to launch a COVID-19 vaccine before the end of the year, according to Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez, who described Spanish pharmaceutical firm Hipra’s vaccine candidate as one of Europe’s most promising to end the pandemic, EURACTIV’s partner EFE reported.
Hipra expects to start clinical trials of its vaccine candidate in June this year and produce 400 million doses by 2022.
Sánchez last week visited the company’s facility in Amer, located in the north-eastern Catalan province of Girona, where he stressed the importance of vaccines as “the big hope” to overcome the global pandemic.
“Between April and September around 87 million doses [of various COVID-19 vaccines] will arrive,” Sánchez said. “We are going to guarantee the vaccination of all our fellow compatriots this year, wherever they live,” he added.
The target of Spain’s leftist-socialist coalition government of PSOE and Unidas Podemos is aligned with the EU objective of having 70% of the adult population vaccinated by the end of August, or the beginning of September.
The Spanish executive – which does not intend to extend the state of alarm beyond its expiration date on 9 May – is pinning its hopes on the vaccination campaign, despite the problems currently faced by the Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca jabs.
So far, almost 12 million people have received their first dose and more than 3 million people, or about 6.9% of the population, have received both doses, according to the Spanish health ministry.
Since the start of the pandemic, Spain has recorded around 3.4 million COVID-19 infections and 76,882 related deaths.
[Edited by Paula Kenny, Daniel Eck and Josie Le Blond]