Spain’s health minister, Salvador Illa, has announced that ten million Spaniards will be given the new coronavirus vaccine in the New Year. The recently-announced vaccine, which has been developed by Pfizer and has 90% effectiveness, will start to be distributed before the end of the year.
“We expect that this week or next week we can sign various contracts with Pfizer and other companies,” said Illa, “And we hope to have a sufficiently significant percentage of the population vaccinated by May 2021.” Illa hopes to acquire 20 million doses of the new vaccine as soon as possible.
Health ministers and regional health authorities will be given the responsibility to decide which citizens to vaccinate first, although it is expected that the most vulnerable members of society will get priority.
Illa said that he did not foresee any need to make vaccinations compulsory. “I believe that the public will react well, and that’s why I don’t think there’s any need to make it obligatory, although that is something we can’t discount totally,” he said. The Spanish people are among the most vaccine-friendly in Europe, although a recent survey has discovered that 50% of respondent didn’t want to be in the first groups of people to receive the vaccine.
When asked about the possibility of counter-vaccination campaigns by anti-vax groups, Illa said “Vaccines save lives. The European framework provides full guarantees, and we’re going to be very clear and robust with these people who tell lies. It is anti-science.”
“The vaccine will allow us to pass to a different phase of the pandemic and, with caution, we can see some light at the end of the tunnel.”