MADRID (AP) – Spanish health authorities are stepping up efforts to distribute coronavirus vaccines ahead of Christmas and end-of-year gatherings that usually bring large groups.
On Wednesday, the same day that the introduction of the COVID-19 vaccine began in Spain and other parts of the European Union for 3.3 million children aged 5 to 11, Spain’s regional health authorities approved an expansion of the circle of people eligible for revaccination … shot.
After Spain has offered third doses to healthcare professionals, high-risk groups and those over 60 over the past two months, Spain will begin giving additional vaccinations to people 50 and older, Health Minister Carolina Darias said at a press conference late Wednesday.
Earlier, while attending a school in central Spain where children and their families were lining up to get their first shots, Darias said vaccinations should accelerate ahead of increased “mobility and social interaction” ahead of Christmas.
“Today is a day filled with emotions,” the minister told reporters. “I am pleased and glad to see so many parents here with their children.”
The Spaniards have demonstrated a strong commitment to vaccination, which has resulted in nearly 90% of residents aged 12 and over being fully vaccinated.
But now it is believed that children under 11 years old, who make up about 7% of the population, are one of the groups that spread the most infections. The infection rate among them – 667 new cases per 100,000 children in two weeks – almost 50% higher than the national average (441 new cases). Their parents, many between 40 and 49 years old, have the second highest infection rate, 550 new cases per 100,000 people in 14 days.
On Wednesday, Spain reported 27,140 new infections daily, the highest since late July, and 77 deaths from COVID-19, although hospitalizations are growing more slowly than previous virus outbreaks.
Since the start of the pandemic, Spain has officially recorded 88,619 deaths from the virus.
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