CORONAVIRUS

Spanish PM predicts that ‘very substantial’ part of population could be vaccinated during first quarter of 2021

Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez said on Friday that his Cabinet will approve a coronavirus vaccination plan on Tuesday, adding: “We are ready”

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez at an event in La Rioja on Friday.
Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez at an event in La Rioja on Friday.Pool Moncloa/Diego del Monte / Europa Press

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez has announced that his Cabinet will approve the country’s coronavirus vaccination plan on Tuesday, and predicted that “a very substantial part of the Spanish population could be vaccinated with all guarantees during the first quarter of 2021.” Speaking from La Rioja, where he presented the Recovery, Transformation and Resilience Plan for the Spanish Economy, he said that “Spain, along with Germany, would be the first European Union country to have a complete vaccination plan.”

The Socialist Party (PSOE) leader went on to say that his government “has been working on this plan since September,” adding: “We are ready.” While describing the current outlook in terms of the pandemic as “hopeful,” he said that “any euphoria should be tempered with caution.”

We are on the right path to flatten the curve, meeting the ambitious target that we have set ourselves
Spanish PM Pedro Sánchez

The European Union has already signed contracts with pharmaceutical companies AstraZeneca, Sanofi/GSK, Janssen and BioNTech/Pfizer for a total of one billion doses of coronavirus vaccine, the prime minister explained, adding that the signing of a contract with the CureVac company is “imminent,” and that negotiations with Moderna and Novavax are very advanced for a total of an additional 400 million doses. Spain is to be allocated 10% of the contracted doses, and work is going on to ensure they are “available as soon as possible,” Sánchez explained.

“Today we have more instruments than yesterday and we have perfected co-governance,” he said, speaking about the overall strategy for combatting the pandemic and making a reference to the central government’s coordination with the country’s regions, which are in charge of their own healthcare systems and indeed their strategies to deal with the coronavirus crisis. “We count on a state strategy with common indicators, common actions and a weekly evaluation of the adopted measures. We are very conscious that we need two to three weeks to know what the evolution of these measures is. With these common instruments, we have been bringing down the cumulative incidence in a sustained manner for two weeks now.”

Sánchez, who heads a coalition government with junior partner Unidas Podemos, cited the Health Ministry’s figures for the 14-day cumulative number of coronavirus cases per 100,000 inhabitants in Spain as a whole, which have fallen from “nearly 530 cases per 100,000 inhabitants in the first week of November, to 436 cases yesterday. We are on the right path to flatten the curve, meeting the ambitious target that we have set ourselves,” he continued. “But we are still very high to be able to reach a cumulative incidence of 25 infections per 100,000 inhabitants in 14 days,” he warned, adding that “we must not relax at such a critical moment.”

English version by Simon Hunter.

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