Spain’s Chief of the General Staff, General Miguel Ángel Villarroya, resigned over the weekend over media reports that he and other top brass military personnel had requested and received the Covid-19 vaccine ahead of their scheduled turn.
General Villarroya sent his resignation letter to the defence minister, Margarita Robles, saying he wished “to avoid damaging the image” of the armed forces.
The resignation comes in the wake of several other incidents of ” queue jumping” by civil servants and state officials. Also at the weekend, the Interior Minister, Fernando Grande-Marlaska dismissed a Civil Guard lieutenant colonel for a similar incident.
Earlier the top health official in the autonomous community of Murcia, Manuel Villegas, resigned after admitting that he had the vaccine despite not belonging to any of the priority groups in the governments programme.
However not all are leaving their posts voluntarity; Javier Guerrero, the health chief for Ceuta, refused to resign, saying ” ‘I didn’t want to get vaccinated, but my technical staff told me that unless I did it they wouldn’t do it themselves.’ The government reponsible for the enclave have so far not forced his resignation or had him dismissed.
In a report released by the Ministry of Defence other incidents of military personnel improperly receiving the vaccine are being investigated and Robles indicated that more resignations could follow.
Spain’s coronavirus vaccination campaign began on the 27th December with the initial phase focused on innoculating priority groups such as the elderly, front line health workers and carers in contact with the elderly and those with underlying health conditions.
According to the Health Ministry´s figures released on 22nd January, Spain has received a total of 1,346,100 doses of Covid-19 vaccines (1,310,400 by Pfizer-BioNTech, and 35,700 by Moderna), of which a total 1,165,825 jabs have been administered.