Spain follows the steps of the European Commission and after each announcement made about the effectiveness of a new vaccine, the government of Pedro Sánchez authorises the purchase of the doses it is awarded by Brussels. Two weeks ago it reserved 31 million doses of AstraZeneca and 20 million of Pfizer-BioNTech - to be able to vaccinate 25.5 million people, since they are double-dose immunisations; today, the cabinet has authorised the purchase of up to 52.7 million doses of the Janssen, Moderna and CureVac vaccines, which means doses for 26.3 million people.
If they were all authorised, there would be enough vaccines for the whole of the Spanish population. But at this point the European Union only has on the table the approval of two of these vaccines between December 29th and January 12th, Pfizer-BioNTech's and the Moderna's, of which precisely fewer doses correspond to Spain. In the first case, there are doses for 10 million people and in the second, only for 4.2 million people. In any case, this will depend on the evolution of the reserves to which the European Commission commits itself.
According to a note issued by the Ministry of Health, the Council of Ministers has also authorised the purchase of 20.8 million doses of vaccine from the pharmaceutical company Janssen (for 10.4 million people) and 23.5 million doses of CureVac (for more than 11.7 million people). "Spain has guaranteed access to the vaccines, which will begin to be supplied in January and which will be completely free for citizens", stressed the government spokesperson, María Jesús Montero, during the press conference following the cabinet meeting, celebrating that "every day we are closer to the end of the tunnel".
However, despite noting that Spain is "turning the corner", she called for the population to stay alert before Christmas and recalled that tomorrow the Ministry of Health will meet with the regions, within the framework of the inter-territorial health council, to finish defining the recommendations for the holidays. While the Spanish government maintains that the private meetings should be of a maximum of six people, different governments such as the Catalan government defend that they should be of a maximum of ten. In fact, the Generalitat is considering not including under-14s in the restriction.
Ministers will get the vaccine "when it's their turn"
Asked whether the Spanish government will be vaccinated first to ensure the vaccines' effectiveness and safety, the spokesperson said that both the ministers and "the president of the government himself" would be "delighted" to be the first to be vaccinated, but that they will only do so "when it is their turn". The Ministry of Health has defined a total of 15 population groups to receive the vaccine.
The agreement approved by the cabinet, in particular, allows the Ministry of Health to increase the budget to be able to process all agreements with the European Commission for the supply of vaccines. The forecast is that all the doses will be supplied during 2021, except for CureVac, which will not arrive until the first quarter of 2022.