It was one of the most sought after objectives of the vaccination campaign and it has already been achieved. More than 70% of the Spanish population already has the complete schedule of the coronavirus vaccine. Specifically, 70.3%, more than seven out of ten people who already have the maximum possible immunity against COVID-19 and bring the country closer to the long-awaited group immunity that, with the Delta variant, some experts place now around 90%.
The delta variant removes group immunity and forces more population to be vaccinated
Eight months after Araceli Hidalgo received the first injection of the vaccine, on December 27, 2020, more than 36.5 million people have already received at least one dose of the vaccine and almost 33.4 have the complete schedule, after 457,207 punctures administered in the last 24 hours. Figures that represent, as said Tuesday the Minister of Health, Carolina Darias, in her appearance in Congress “a collective success.”
The head of Health already insisted yesterday that 70% is “one more milestone, not the goal.” In fact, the percentage of vaccinated population is not uniform throughout the territory. Some communities overcame this symbolic barrier weeks ago. Asturias was the first, on August 12. Galicia, Extremadura, Castilla y León, Aragon, Euskadi, Andalusia, La Rioja and Navarra had also been ahead of the national average, while others, such as the Balearic Islands, Catalonia and Madrid have weighed down this objective.
While the vaccination campaign progresses, which will try to cover 100% of the target population, Health now awaits the positioning of the European Medicines Agency (EMA, for its acronym in English) to make a decision on the third doses. However, Darias has already indicated that the autonomous communities will soon address the inoculation of that third puncture in immunosuppressed people, “something accepted by everyone from a scientific point of view”, because “it would be about reaching the level of immunity” of the general population.
The Government of Pedro Sánchez set the goal of 70% immunized at the beginning of the campaign after listening to the experts, who understood that with that percentage of vaccinated the virus no longer has a place to circulate, it cannot multiply exponentially and, therefore , it is not so dangerous, although it does not disappear completely. This barrier was also set by the leaders of the European Union, which, like Spain, They put the end of summer as the time horizon to achieve it.
It is true, however, that with the entry of the delta variant that has been shown to be more contagious than the previous ones and the predominant one in Spain for weeks, this percentage of vaccination may not be enough to guarantee group immunity. Several experts have warned that 70% was never a close figure and that vaccination should continue.
In any case, the vaccination process in Spain has been carried out successfully so far and has been complying with the calendar designed by the health authorities. This has been achieved thanks to the arrival of more doses of Pfizer-BioNTech than originally planned, which have partly offset the problems with the AstraZeneca serum, a formula that the Ministry of Health has ended up discarding for the campaign.
Vaccination gained momentum from April. Until then, less than 100,000 daily doses were given on average. Two important milestones occurred that month: doses of Janssen began to arrive, the only single-dose antidote approved by the European authorities, and the arrival of doses of Pfizer, Moderna and, at that time, AstraZeneca was regularized.
The rate of dosing has increased significantly since then, reaching its peak in early July. At that time the communities managed to administer 577,000 daily doses on average. On July 2, 765,000 doses were given in just 24 hours. Later, with the summer holidays and a smaller arrival of doses, the speed slowed down.
The strategy of the Ministry of Health prioritized the vaccination of health personnel, highly dependent people, teachers and then the general vaccination of the older population. Spain was one of the first neighboring countries to complete the vaccination of those over 80 years of age, at the end of May. At this time, almost 100% of those over 70 are also fully immunized.
In general, 92.2% of those over 40 have the complete vaccination schedule and 94.3% have received at least one first puncture.