Spain’s PM vows to ‘vaccinate without respite’ as he steps up pace of jabs

6 April 2021, 14:24

A couple wearing protective masks walk past a puppet show in a park in Madrid, Spain (Paul White/AP)
Virus Outbreak Spain. Picture: PA

Pedro Sanchez said 70% of the adult population would be inoculated by the end of August.

Spain is stepping up its vaccination drive, with prime minister Pedro Sanchez saying that a steep rise in deliveries over coming months will allow the country to inoculate 70% of its adult population, some 33 million people, against Covid-19 by the end of August.

“The priority now, more than ever, is to vaccinate without respite,” Mr Sanchez told a news conference.

“Vaccinate, vaccinate and vaccinate,” he said.

Spain’s new Covid-19 infections have been edging higher in recent weeks.

The 14-day cumulative incidence, a key contagion metric, rose on Monday to 163 cases per 100,000 people, from 149 a week earlier.

Spain expects to receive 87 million doses by September.

“Anyone who wants a vaccine will be able to get one,” Mr Sanchez said.

Spanish prime minister Pedro Sanchez removes his face mask (Bernat Armangue/AP)
Spanish prime minister Pedro Sanchez removes his face mask (Bernat Armangue/AP)

Those deliveries will include 38 million between April and June, 3.5 times more than in January-March, Mr Sanchez said, when vaccine deliveries across Europe fell short of expectations.

To help the rollout pick up speed, some cities are opening mass vaccination centres.

The Spanish health system has capacity to inoculate 3.5 million people a week, according to Mr Sanchez.

Mr Sanchez set out a series of intended milestones: five million people vaccinated by the first week of May, 10 million by early June, 15 million by mid-June and 25 million by July 15.

Supplies of the recently approved Janssen vaccine will help add momentum to the rollout, with five million of those jabs expected by the end of June.

“We are at the beginning of the end of the pandemic,” Mr Sanchez said, though such hopes have risen before in Europe only to be dashed by unforeseen problems with vaccine production.

He said that under the national vaccination programme about 98% of people who live in elderly care homes or who are disabled have already received a first jab, while almost 80% of people over the age of 80 have had their first dose.

By Press Association