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70% of the Spanish population will be immunised by end of August

Moncloa Palace, Madrid, Tuesday 6 April 2021

The President of the Government of Spain stressed that "this is the largest global vaccination campaign ever. And the same can be said of our country: we are at the start of the largest vaccination campaign in Spain's history", which is being undertaken with "an unprecedented effort".

In his speech, Pedro Sánchez called to join forces in the vaccination process and claimed that "the speed and efficacy of vaccinations is the main concern of the Government of Spain at this time". "Let me spell this out clearly: we must take a step forward. The time has come to vaccinate and eep vaccinating", because "mass vaccination will be the quickest way to reactivate our country and our economy. This time has come to tirelessly vaccinate".

The President of the Government underlined "the preparation and commitment of professionals" and "the open disposition of the general public of all ages to the vaccine", along with "the coordination between Central Government and the regional governments" which, he explained, is working well.

He also highlighted the work and leadership of the Ministry of Health in the preparation of the vaccination campaign to help the regional health authorities meet their targets. "Thanks to this joint work, and despite the complexity and urgency, Spain is presently among the European Union countries to perform the best in the vaccination process and heads up the list of the countries with the largest population, including Germany, France, Poland and Italy", he stated.

According to the data offered by the President of the Government, Spain has a coverage rate of vaccination with at least one dose in those over the age of 80 of 79.1%. The average of the 27 EU Member States is 60% and 36% for the complete dose, compared with a rate of 44.2% in Spain".

Vaccination forecasts

Foto: Pool Moncloa/Borja Puig de la BellacasaPedro Sánchez announced that the vaccination rate will speed up in April and explained the forecasts for the coming months. "Each month will be better than the previous month; this campaign will get faster and faster and we will meet the targets we have set".

According to the most prudent forecasts, by next week there will be more people vaccinated with the complete dose than the number of people who have notified that they have been infected.

By the week of 3 May, 5 million Spanish men and women will have received the full dose of the vaccine. By the first week of June, the target is to reach 10 million people, and 15 million people vaccinated by the week of 14 June.

Pedro Sánchez also announced that, by the week of 19 July, the forecast is to have 25 million people vaccinated and that 70% of the population - in other words, 33 million people - will be immunised by the end of the month of August.

More than 87 million doses between April and September

The President of the Government underlined that the four vaccines authorised to date by the European Commission (Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna, AstraZeneca and Janssen/Johnson & Johnson) are all safe. "The four vaccines have shown adequate levels of efficacy and safety. To date, we have the first three vaccines in Spain, but I would like to stress that all of them are safe".

As regards the arrival of doses in our country over the coming months, the President of the Government stated that, between April and June, Spain is due to receive 38 million doses of the Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Moderna and Janssen vaccines. This means receiving 3.5 times more vaccine doses than arrived in Spain in the first quarter of 2021. Spain will also receive 5.7 million Janssen vaccines by June, which only requires one dose and provides immunisation within two weeks after it is administered.

Pedro Sánchez also explained that there is currently another vaccine pending authorisation - the German vaccine CureVac. "Once it has been authorised, and adding its doses to the rest of the vaccines, we expect to receive 48 million doses between July and September. I can announce that we have acquired more than 87 million doses in total to arrive between April and September", he indicated.

Those over the age of 80 will be fully vaccinated by the first fortnight of May

Foto: Pool Moncloa/Borja Puig de la BellacasaAccording to the President of the Government, the priority continues to be to complete the vaccination of those over the age of 80 as soon as possible. "We are counting on completing the administration of the first dose this week, from 5 to 11 April, and the second dose in the first fortnight of May. By that time, we will have the assurance of knowing that our elderly folk are safe".

People aged between 70 and 79 will be the next group to be fully vaccinated, using the Pfizer, Moderna and Janssen vaccines, together with those patients with very high risk conditions, such as transplant patients, certain cancer patients, patients on haemodialysis and those suffering from Down's syndrome over the age of 40. That group will be followed by the 66 to 69 age group.

As regards the AstraZeneca vaccine, as well as concluding those groups that were indicated as essential, it has begun to be supplied in most autonomous regions to people aged from 55 to 65, explained Pedro Sánchez at the press briefing.

The President of the Government thanked the pharmaceutical companies in our country for their work, together with the scientific research groups, which "both at the National Scientific Research Council (Spanish acronym: CISC) and at other scientific institutions, are working to obtain a Spanish vaccine", and highlighted the dual aim of vaccination: "On the one hand, to protect people from the disease and, on the other hand, to recover maximum mobility as soon as possible

Pedro Sánchez explained that the Ministry of Health, together with the regional governments, has set up the first national vaccination register, which will be the basis for the Digital Green Certificate being developed by the European Union. Through this certificate, which will be free and universal, and is expected to be ready by mid-June, "we will be able to recover mobility gradually in the EU while protecting the health of our people"; he stressed.

The role of science is essential

The President of the Government underlined the role of science in tackling the pandemic. He explained that just over a year after the World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 to be a global pandemic, almost four-fifths of those people in our country aged over 80 - 79.1% - have received at least the first dose, and 44% the full dose.

Almost all of the 405,179 people who are in care homes for the elderly or with a disability - 98% - have received at least the first dose, and 90% the full dose.

Pedro Sánchez claimed that "science not only removes the obstacles in the way, but harnesses them to achieve perfection. We are facing one of these challenges at this time. The obstacle was great, but the solution will be even greater. We are at the beginning of the end and Spain has a horizon to come out of this".

Vaccination - the most effective economic policy

Foto: Pool Moncloa/Borja Puig de la BellacasaThe President of the Government highlighted the positive reaction of the job market to the lifting of restrictions on activity in the month of March. "The figures on the number of Social Security contributors have risen on Tuesday by 70,790 workers compared with February. Recorded unemployment has fallen at the fastest rate in a month of March since the year 2015, recording a fall of 59,149 people and thus dropping below the 4 million barrier once again".

As regards the number of workers on a Temporary Lay-off Plan (Spanish acronym: ERTE), he remarked that "compared with the last day of February, there are now 114,000 more people who have returned to work, a figure that rises to 145,000 people when taking into account the average for the month". "Hence, in terms of effective contributor number (discounting ERTEs), the number of workers has risen by more than 200,000 people this month", he underlined.

The President of the Government also mentioned the improvement in the growth forecasts made by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) at a global level and for our country. "In the case of Spain, the forecasts are for an improvement in 2021 in the Eurozone of 6.4% of growth, half a point more than January's forecast. This economic growth of 6.4% places Spain as the developed economy that will grow the most in 2021, together with the United States". "Vaccination is the most effective economic policy", highlighted Pedro Sánchez.

Call for responsibility

The President of the Government closed off his press briefing with a call for responsibility. "We are now drawing closer to the end of this nightmare; there is not long to go. We still must not drop our guard; we cannot relax just yet".

"I would ask for one final effort. I understand the impatience, I understand people are tired of this, but I would ask everyone to act responsibly. I would ask people to think of the lives that are still being lost daily, of the people who are still at risk of becoming infected, of our elderly folk who are still unprotected and of the vulnerable. In the threat that still persists to us all, even to our youngest and healthiest people".

And he closed by stressing the importance of vaccination for defeating the pandemic. "Vaccinate to save lives; vaccinate to recover our economy; vaccinate to recover our social lives; in short: vaccinate and keep vaccinating".

Non official translation