Spain is the country of the 50 most populous in the world with the highest percentage of the population vaccinated with the complete regimen against the coronavirus.
According to the latest comparable data from the Ourworldindata website, promoted by the University of Oxford, last Thursday surpassed the United Kingdom in second doses, a trend that is maintained with the figures published this Monday by the countries and that will be updated in this repository on Tuesday at noon.
According to the latest vaccination report from the Ministry of Health, 25.9 million inhabitants have already received the complete schedule, which represents 54.7% of the population, a percentage that varies slightly with respect to that published by Oxford (54, 3% last Thursday), which takes the United Nations population figure to make a comparable comparison between countries. With this denominator and the latest vaccination data published by the countries (not yet updated in Ourworldindata), Spain would reach 55.5%, by 55.2% from Canada and 54.8% from the United Kingdom, the most close pursuers among the most populated countries.
The latter was the only large country that was ahead of Spain in terms of percentage of the population fully vaccinated, once it surpassed the United States on July 13. Others with a smaller population are still ahead, in the case of Malta, which leads the ranking (83.6%), or Iceland (74.3%), which is second. States such as Hungary, Uruguay, the United Arab Emirates or Israel also surpass Spain, but all of them have less than 10 million inhabitants. The most populated country that is ahead is Chile, which with almost 20 million inhabitants has completed the pattern of 63% of its citizens.
The secretary general of Digital Health, Alfredo González, has emphasized this Monday on these "good data" that make Spain "better prepared" to face the rebound in cases, with a cumulative incidence of 700 cases per 100,000 inhabitants in the last 14 days.
"The vaccination plan allows us to protect the most vulnerable people and minimize hospital admissions," he said.
To arrive at these figures in Spain, several factors have been combined.
To begin with, thanks to the agreements of the European Union with pharmaceutical companies, it is from the group of countries that have previously been able to access drugs and in greater quantity.
Few outside the EU - the United States, the United Kingdom, Israel and other smaller countries - have received the most vials so far.
Spain has already completed the vaccination of more than half of its inhabitants
But this data alone does not explain the good Spanish rhythm, which far exceeds that of its community partners - in the EU only 46.2% of citizens have the complete pattern - and neighbors such as Germany (49%), Italy ( 48%) or France (44%).
These countries, which started the vaccination plan with a similar force to the Spanish, were deflated in the last stages, as the process progressed.
Since massive doses began to arrive in the second quarter, the autonomous communities - with some differences between them - managed to inject the vast majority of those that arrived as they received them. Despite some setbacks, such as the adverse effects of AstraZeneca and the separation between doses of this drug, the pace has always been maintained and the rejection of the population is being minimal.
Unlike other European countries, Spain is not needing special incentives for the population, of any age group, to attend or request an appointment. José Antonio Forcada, president of the National Association of Nursing and Vaccines (Anevac), says even among the youngest, who have less risk of becoming seriously ill, the pace is being "very good." "Perhaps because some people think that with the vaccine they can do what they want, something that is a mistake," he clarifies. He also attributes the good progress of the injections to a "vaccination culture" in Spain, which in children has one of the best rates in the world, and to an optimal organization of resources. "They have taken the hands of nurses from hospitals, health centers, volunteers who are doubling their shift and are responding wonderfully, leaving their skin behind",judgment.
It does need to encourage its population to get pricked, for example France, which is taking measures such as forcing health and nursing staff to be vaccinated, and making indoor social life and mobility difficult for those who are not immunized, since they will require a covid certificate to enter bars and restaurants and some public transport.
In Spain three million doses were punctured last week. The week ended July 4, the record was reached, with more than four million. Since then the figure has been gradually falling to 3.8 million the second week of the month; 3.4 the next, up to 3.02 the last. But the reason for this decline must be found in the doses that arrive. During June, Pfizer made an advance and went on to send 2.4 million a week, a figure that has dropped to 1.7 million this month. In August, part of this drop can be alleviated with Moderna, which will send 900,000 weekly doses, practically double than now.
With the current rate, if the doses that arrive continue to be punctured, it will be possible to reach 70% of the population with the complete guideline by the end of August, as promised by the President of the Government, Pedro Sánchez.
If the milestone is not achieved, it is very likely that it will be reached in the first weeks of September, as planned by the Ministry of Health since the beginning of the process, when it predicted that it would reach this figure during the summer.
The goal of herd immunity
The question now is what that figure means. At first, it had been calculated that it would be the necessary amount to achieve group immunity: the portion of vaccinated citizens that makes the spread of the virus so difficult that it ends up practically disappearing from a territory. But the new variants, more contagious than the first, with which these accounts were made, set the bar higher. Although there is no exact calculation, specialists now place this percentage between 80% and 90%.
To reach these levels it will be necessary to vaccinate practically all those who are susceptible, since at the moment there is no approved vaccine for those under 12 years of age, who account for around 11% of the Spanish population. This is one of the reasons why the vaccination strategy also includes puncturing adolescents, who in other countries, such as the United Kingdom, have been left out of the plan. Technicians in this country consider that the risks of the vaccine do not outweigh the benefits it brings to a population that, in the vast majority of cases, has a very mild or asymptomatic disease. But they can become infected and spread to other people.
As the vaccination plan advances, it will be, predictably, more difficult to reach the last layers of the population, either because they are the most averse to punctures, because there is less perception of irrigation or because, for various reasons, they are more complicated to handle. attain. It is what in logistics is known as the last mile, delivery to the door of the house, although it can be a few hundred meters, it requires almost as much effort as bringing the package from hundreds of kilometers. Forcada believes that if the rate of arrival of doses continues, the process will continue to flow, but considers it "very complicated" to reach herd immunity before the end of 2021.
And that in Spain. In the world we will have to wait much more, if it comes. According to Silvia de Sanjosé, president of the Multidisciplinary Collaborative Group for Scientific Monitoring of covid-19 promoted by the ISGlobal health institute and the Barcelona College of Physicians, “we are going fatal”. "As we do not make an effort among all the countries at the international level to try to bring vaccines to vulnerable populations, to health personnel, we will be here changing from variant to variant and we are not going to end this pandemic for a long time," he says.
For her, the European effort to obtain vaccines, with the bumps that the process has had, is an example that if countries join together they can get a good supply of drugs. “If the countries are able to agree, if there is a dialogue and pressure for it to be done from the UN, the World Health Organization to create a pact and that vaccines are distributed more equitably, it would help a lot. Governments must be made to see that we will not be safe until everyone is safe, ”he says.