MADRID — Health Minister Salvador Illa says Spain will be able to vaccinate its 47 million residents against the coronavirus in three waves starting in January and ending “during the months of summer.”
Some 2.5 million people, including residents and personnel working in nursing homes, health workers and people with dependency, will be prioritized for the first batch of vaccines that Spain expects to administer between January and March, Illa said Friday.
He said that experts are analyzing what will be the order for vaccinating other groups in the March to June vaccination campaign and for the last batch, over the summer, depending on their risk of contagion and the availability of vaccine doses.
Spain has closed contracts to purchase 140 million doses that could cover 80 million people.
Asked about questions raised about preliminary results from a proposed vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University, Illa said the European Union’s strategy of purchasing vaccines from at least seven different manufacturers takes into account that some might not get final approval.
“No vaccine will be administered that does not have the guarantees of safety and efficacy,” Illa said.
A recent decline in the number of daily coronavirus infections in Spain has given a slight respite to hospitals, where 12% of normal beds and 28% of intensive care beds are treating COVID-19 patients. But the number of daily fatalities remains high.
The country has recorded 1.6 million coronavirus infections and 44,300 deaths.