The government is still reluctant to confirm third doses for the entire adult population of Spain
Despite the growing body of evidence to suggest that a top-up or booster dose of coronavirus vaccines is advisable during the autumn for those who were first to receive the initial two doses in Spain, the Ministry of Health continues to tread carefully regarding the topic.
Carolina Darias, the Minister for Public Health, stated earlier in July that the need for continuing vaccination would be almost inevitable in order to combat the pandemic, but has added this week that at the next meeting of the inter-territorial health committee on Wednesday she will be proposing to regional health authorities that for the time being a top-up dose should be administered only to cancer and organ transplant patients. This cautious stance follows the indications that the European Medicines Agency (EMA) will not be making a definitive pronouncement on the issue, despite Moderna and other vaccine manufacturers confirming that their studies point to the advisability of a third dose (or, in the case of Janssen, a second dose).
The recommendation to bring forward the extra dose for cancer and organ transplant patients is justified by their having reduced immune systems due to the treatment they are undergoing.
Asked during a radio interview to comment on the decisions made in the USA, France and Israel to introduce booster doses for the entire population aged over 12, Sra Darias reiterated that her intention is to await the conclusions of Pfizer and Moderna from the studies they are currently performing into immunity levels. Until now she has referred to a preference for waiting for the EMA’s decision, but the Emer Cooke of the EMA stated on Monday that such a decision is not likely to be imminent.
This places the responsibility back on national governments within the EU, but in Spain, despite the apparent success of the immunization campaign so far, it appears that the Ministry is unwilling to rush any decision. This may be due at least in part to the opinion of various immunologists and epidemiologists that priority ought to be given to ensuring that vaccines reach less developed countries: for example, in Algeria, on the other side of the Mediterranean from Spain, under 2 per cent of the population have been fully vaccinated (according to Our World in Data), whereas in Spain the figure stands at over 69 per cent.
Source: Murcia Today