The Spanish Minister of Health Salvador Illa said today that he hopes that the newly released Covid-19 vaccine made by pharmaceutical giant Pfizer will be ready to roll out in Spain early in the New Year.
The minister said that in the region of 20 million doses will be made ready and could provide the immunization to 10 million people throughout the country.
The Pfizer vaccine which has been developed with BioNTech is claiming to provide immunity in over 90% of patients in the still ongoing clinical trials.
The trials which are presently in the final stage 3 has involved nearly 40,000 people from aged 18 to 85 in various countries across the globe.
The minister told the Spanish broadcaster RTVE that the government would be “alert to the specific terms of the contract to be signed, but we figure that we could receive around 20 million doses from Pzifer,” which would be given free and administered through the national healthcare system.
Prirority would be given to vulnerable citizens especially “the elderly and healthcare workers” to be the first in line he said.
The American multinational has announced it aims to produce 50 million doses in 2020 and 1.3 billion in 2021.
According to Illa’s estimates, Spain could start a vaccination campaign in early January. “By approximately May, a sufficiently consequential number of the Spanish and European population could be vaccinated, because the vaccines are going to be equitably shared out among all members of the European Union,” he said.
Illa also underscored that vaccination will not be mandatory in any case. “The government is going to do what it has been doing all this time: explaining the truth to its citizens, and the truth is that vaccines save lives.” The minister also warned that the executive will be “very clear and forceful” against “people who tell lies and play with anti-science,” alluding to anti-vaxxers and coronavirus deniers.
“It is a promising and relevant step, but there is still a long way to go and we need to keep our guard up,” he warned, noting that the epidemiological situation in Spain “continues to be of great concern.”
According to Monday’s coronavirus report, the infection rate has risen again while the number of fatalities has reached a record high and is likely to keep doing so in the next few weeks even if the incidence rate falls again.
To date Spain has recorded over 1.4 million cases and nearly 40,000 deaths from the virus.