Spanish study: Unvaccinated 20 times more likely to die from COVID-19

People queue to receive the Covid-19 vaccine in Valencia, Spain, 07 December 2021. [EPA-EFE/Juan Carlos Cardenas]

Unvaccinated people aged 60-79 are 20 times more likely to die from COVID-19 than those vaccinated against it, according to a Spanish study, EURACTIV’s partner EFE reported.

Health Minister Carolina Darias revealed the findings of the Spanish Centre for the Coordination of Health Alerts and Emergencies as she visited a vaccination centre in Extremadura in western Spain on Saturday amid soaring COVID-19 cases.

Unvaccinated people in the 60-79 age group are 16 times more likely to be hospitalised due to coronavirus-related complications, while those who have been vaccinated are 30 times less likely to be admitted to an ICU, the minister said, EURACTIV’s partner EFE reported.

She added that fatality rates have fallen to 1.3% as vaccination has progressed compared to 4% a few days into the pandemic.

Spain currently has a record 14-day incidence with an average of 2,722 cases per 100,000.

Meanwhile, after the Christmas break, schools reopen on Monday, with the health ministry recommending implementing quarantines only if five or more children in a class test positive for COVID-19.

“Classrooms are safe environments”, the health ministry stressed on Friday. Quarantines will be necessary only if five or more children – which is about 20% of the class – test positive. If only four or fewer cases are reported, this will be considered “an isolated case”, and quarantines will not be implemented.

According to the health ministry’s latest data, some 32% of Spanish children aged 5-11 had received at least one dose of the Pfizer pediatric COVID-19 vaccine by last Friday.

This recommendation, which aims to encourage “as much as possible” children’s attendance to schools at all levels, emphasises prevention but does not establish different criteria of quarantines for vaccinated and unvaccinated children.

The Spanish regions, to which many health competencies have been transferred from Madrid, are now free to decide if and how to implement these recommendations and the “ad hoc” safety protocols, EFE reported.

With this general recommendation of quarantines for schools, Spain’s health ministry seeks to curb the latest COVID-19 wave but maintains the same protocol as for adults: quarantines equal to or less than seven days for people who had close contact with someone tested positive, and have not had two jabs.

(Fernando Heller | EuroEFE.EURACTIV.es)

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