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Spanish gov't outlines COVID-19 vaccination plan

Xinhua | Updated: 2020-11-25 09:30
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People wearing face masks sit at the terrace of the Les Quinze Nits restaurant on Real square, after Spain's Catalonia region allowed bars, restaurants, gyms and cinemas to reopen from Monday, gradually easing some of the restrictions put in place to tackle the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Barcelona, Spain, Nov 23, 2020. [Photo/Agencies]

MADRID - Spain's Health Minister Salvador Illa on Tuesday explained the government's plans to vaccinate the population against COVID-19 in 2021.

Speaking at a press conference after the cabinet approved the plan, Illa said the vaccination would be completed in three stages. During the first stage between January and March, around 2.5 million people would receive the vaccine, starting with the elderly people and residential care workers, followed by other health workers and dependent people.

The minister said that during this period the supply of vaccines would be "very limited", but supply would increase progressively in the second stage between March and June, with a significant increase foreseen for the third stage.

The government's vaccination strategy divides the population into 18 groups. People would be vaccinated progressively and "in strict order". Illa did not elaborate, saying only that details "will be announced in a timely manner".

Spain will have enough doses to vaccine around 80 million people even though the country's total population is just below 47 million. Madrid has concluded agreements on the purchase of vaccines from AstraZeneca, Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson, Sanofi GSK, CureVac and Moderna through the European Union vaccine purchase plan.

On Sunday Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez explained that vaccinations would be carried out at 13,000 points around the country and that the aim was to vaccinate the majority of the population during the first half of 2021.

On Tuesday the government published a draft document outlining its plans to limit the number of coronavirus infections during the Christmas holiday period.

The document recommends limiting social contacts whenever possible, prohibiting family and social gatherings of more than six people and introducing a 1 am curfew on both Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve.

The document also recommends avoiding "non-essential travel", although Spain's 17 autonomous communities will be entitled to decide whether or not they close their perimeters over the holiday period.

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