Spain expects to receive 20 million doses of Pfizer vaccine

Health Minister believes that by May a "significant" percentage of the population will have been immunized

Optimism for Pfizer's vaccine advances, which show 90% effectiveness according to the company's data. The Minister of Health, Salvador Illa, explained in an interview with TVE that they hope that this week or next they can sign new contracts with Pfizer  to get more doses of the covid vaccine, and that the first ones could arrive in Spain at the beginning of next year, and if everything goes "very very well" at the end of this year. "We estimate that  about 20 million doses will arrive from Pfizer,  it is a double dose vaccine and could immunize about ten million people," said Illa, who noted that it will be administered free of charge. The minister stressed that the vaccine has to be kept under 80 degrees below freezing and that the company itself has foreseen this and will facilitate the logistics so that there are no complications.

Illa has argued that he believes the covid vaccine will not be mandatory because the public will react well, even though he has admitted it is not being ruled out. In fact, he has promised to be forceful in confronting the anti-vaccine rhetoric: "We will be very forceful against people who tell lies and peddles antiscience". He has ventured that by May we could have a "significant" percentage of the population vaccinated in Europe. It will start, he said, with the most vulnerable groups and this step could already represent, according to the minister, an "important change of scenario", even though he warned that the use of masks and physical distance will be "absolutely necessary" for many months. Regarding the masks, he said that they are considering the possibility of lowering their VAT, but he did not give more details on where this debate stands.

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The minister noted that these days there has been a "relative stabilisation" of cases, but it is too early to lift restrictions. "We must wait two to three weeks after the measures are taken to see the results," he said. On Christmas, he said it can not be like last year and we will have to see how to get there in epidemiological terms: "We will try that families can be reunited.

"We are continuing to take action"

Dr Bonaventura Clotet, head of the infectious disease service at Can Ruti Hospital, also referred to the Pfizer vaccine in an interview with Radio 4. "It is obvious that behind it there was a stock market interest and everything to stir things up. We will have to see how long the protection will last or if older people develop a good response, it is a small group," he said. He also reminded people that the vaccine is not the end of it all: "Optimism with the vaccine, but we have to be careful and continue to take action.

On the evolution of the pandemic, he claimed the situation will be very touch and go, but by 2022 it will be solved by various mechanisms". The doctor from Can Ruti said that there are two mechanisms: "One is to do quick tests and the other is to have treatment. If we have treatment, it means we can stop the evolution of the disease. There are treatments, such as monoclonal antibodies, which destroy the virus and prevent it from affecting the cells and from reaching the lungs. The treatment has to be very early. And I think the treatments will be available before we have a vaccine available for everyone.

"To have the vaccine for the entire population in a short period of time is difficult, we may not have this until the end of 2021 or the beginning of 2022", defended Magda Campins, head of epidemiology and preventive medicine at Vall d'Hebron Hospital, in an interview with RAC 1. The doctor recalled that the measures of mask, distance and hands will have to be maintained for a year or two, and that they will coexist with the vaccine: "We cannot relax".

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