The first or the first coronavirus vaccines that are approved and arrive in Spain will be administered in 13,000 vaccination points, announced this afternoon the President of the Government, Pedro Sánchez, who has advanced some keys to the strategy that Spain will follow when immunizations pass approval by drug regulatory agencies and are available for distribution.
This process could begin “tentatively, in January”, Sánchez assured in a press conference after the virtual meeting of the G-20.
The chief executive has referred to the decision of the experts next week to know exactly which groups of people will be vaccinated as a priority. Health professionals and the elderly, with a special focus on residences
They will be among the first, along with chronic patients and individuals at special risk due to previous pathologies.
Spanish PM announces ‘unique’ vaccination strategy via the country’s primary healthcare system
The 13,000 vaccination points coincide with the number of health centers (3,000) and clinics (10,000) currently available to the health services of all autonomous regions.
It will, therefore, be the Primary Care network in charge of administering the first vaccines to arrive in Spain. This strategy differs from the one announced by Germany, where each federal state (länder) will have different facilitiesof the health to begin vaccination.
Berlin, for example, will enable a velodrome, an airport hangar or a stadium, among others.
The Spanish primary school network is very efficient, with centers very close to the population. Pedro Sánchez highlighted that strength this afternoon by recalling that every year 10 million people are vaccinated against influenza in Spain.
This year, in just eight weeks, the campaign has immunized 14 million people. “The National Health System is ready,” he said.
The vaccination strategy will be “unique”, stressed the president. It will be agreed in the Interterritorial Council of the National Health System (SNS), where all the autonomous communities are represented. The Government “will guarantee equitable access to the vaccine or vaccines,” he added.
The Executive’s plan foresees starting with immunization in January and ensuring that “a very substantial part of the population can be vaccinated with all guarantees in the first half of the year,” as it had already announced this Friday.
Besides health experts from the communities, specialists in bioethics, the Spanish Association of Vaccination, experts in mathematical models and sociology have participated in the development of the strategy.
Equitable access to vaccination is guaranteed, the president added, thanks to the organization of the National Health System in Spain, based on universal access and the capillarity of Primary Care. The head of the Government has also specified that an information and registration system will be created to monitor vaccination.
The Ministry of Health will provide the vaccines and it will be the communities that must have the materials, equipment and resources necessary to administer them.
Sánchez recalled that the European Union has already signed five contracts to acquire 1,200 million expandable doses, of which Spain will receive 10% of the doses, depending on its population.
So far the contracts have been signed with AstraZeneca, Sanofi-GSK, Janssen, BioNTech-Pfizer and with CureVac, the latter only a few days ago . In addition, there are advanced talks to close commercial agreements with other pharmaceutical companies (such as the American company Moderna).
The Prime Minister has acknowledged that next Christmas “will be different from the ones we have always known.”
“This year we are going to have to stay away from our loved ones instead of hugging them.” “The priority should be to avoid a third wave,” he added, and explained that the Interterritorial Council is working on some recommendations for Christmas, which it has defined as “different but safe.”
Sánchez has indicated that the state of alarm worked in the first wave and “it is working in this second wave.”
He also highlighted that the accumulated incidence has been falling for two weeks and that this Monday is expected to be below 400 cases per 100,000 inhabitants in 14 days.
“This is still a very high incidence,” he warned, and recalled that the objective is to place it at less than 25 cases per 100,000 inhabitants, the threshold below which health authorities consider that the epidemic is under control. The reduction in recent days indicates “that the downward trend is consistent and that the measures are taking effect,” he added.
Last Friday (the Ministry of Health does not update the figures during the weekend) the accumulated incidence at 14 days was 419 cases per 100,000 inhabitants, with large differences between communities.
Castilla y León, with 769, almost double the national average (the Basque Country closely followed, with 691). On the other hand, the Canary Islands (80) and the Balearic Islands (225) are the ones that are registering the least infections, although neither is below the desirable threshold of 25.
The peak of the epidemic in this second wave was reached on November 4, with 529 cases per 100,000 inhabitants. Since then it has been going down, although very slowly.
“Primary must be reinforced”
“It is logical that in a country like ours, where Primary Care has been vaccinating for years and we have so much experience, it is the health centers and clinics that are in charge” of the vaccination campaign against the coronavirus, says Salvador Tranche , President of the Spanish Society of Family and Community Medicine (Semfyc).
But he adds that this level of care needs to increase the number of professionals, both in medicine and in nursing — it is usually the nurses who administer the vaccines—: “Primary must be seriously strengthened; We have been saying it for months and we are ignored ”.
Francisco Álvarez, coordinator of the Vaccine Advisory Committee of the Spanish Association of Pediatrics, also explained a few days ago to EL PAÍS that the most logical thing is to use the wide Primary Care network and not opt for the model of having fewer vaccination points and more large:
“If you centralize you save money, but sending people to hospitals or special centers means having to displace vulnerable people, at risk because they are sick or elderly, also now with the cold. Ideally, there should be a device in each basic health area ”.
“Vaccinating is much more than giving an injection,” explains Tranche. “It is to prioritize the population to which it is administered, record what is administered, evaluate the appearance of immediate and late adverse effects, for which it is necessary to monitor, check contraindications and allergies …
” And all this, he adds, in addition to logistics: “Distribution of doses, ensuring the cold chain and conservation … Inescapably the plan must be accompanied by resources.”