Updated: Friday, November 20, 2020 2:14 PM
Published on: 20.11.2020 14:09
The President of the Government, Pedro Sánchez, announced this Friday the presentation of the vaccination plan against COVID-19 next Tuesday, the first country with Germany to do so, but what is the current situation in Spain in terms of vaccines?
The main data to take into account is that Spain is included in the European negotiations with the pharmaceutical companies which develop the main vaccine projects. This means savings on contracts and that, out of all those obtained by the European Union, Spain represents 10% of doses per population.
Pedro Sánchez predicts that vaccination will begin at the beginning of the year and that during the first half of 2021 a large part of the population has already been vaccinated. Specifically, Spain is currently part of three agreements for the purchase of vaccines: with Sanofi, AstraZeneca and Pfizer.
How many doses?
These three contracts represent a total of 1 billion doses for the entire Union, while negotiations with Moderna for the acquisition of 400 million vials of its product are advanced. Spain would have at hand 10% of the total, 140 million vaccines. Considering the fact that for a complete vaccination two injections are necessary, with the commitment the 47 million Spaniards could be inoculated with excessive doses.
In addition, the EU is also negotiating with the vaccine from Janssen (a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, whose phase III study is part of Spain), Novavax and Curevac. Spain therefore has seven vaccines on the horizon.
When will they arrive?
However, despite the commitment to doses, these will not come all at once and it is not known which will be the most effective. Pfizer, whose Phase III project was 95% effective, hopes to be able to manufacture 50 million doses (to immunize 25 million people) this year, 1.3 billion next year. For its part, Moderna plans to manufacture 20 million doses by the end of the year, and between 500 and 1,000 million in 2021.
Health Minister Salvador Illa has already announced that Spain’s intention is to buy more doses of the vaccine than the country needs to “be safe”. “We will buy the whole lot to make sure we have the first vaccines and all the technologies and, if any are left, in an exercise of solidarity, we will provide them to countries that may need them,” Illa said on the week. last.
The goal is not for the entire Spanish population to be vaccinated this year, but at least a significant percentage and, above all, risk groups, so that some of the restrictions aimed at controlling the pandemic can be gradually lifted.
How much are they going to cost us?
The PGE project for 2021 contemplates a € 1,011 million item for the purchase of coronavirus vaccines, although they could be expanded as extraordinary expenses. Most of this money comes from reconstruction funds, and not all will be used to purchase doses, but also to keep them.
According to a price estimate, a dose of the Pfizer vaccine would cost 16.50 euros; that of AstraZeneca, 3 euros; that of Sanofi, 10 euros; and Janssen’s would be sold at cost.
On the other hand, there is still no state position on whether protection against COVID-19 will be mandatory nationwide. Salvador Illa dismisses it: “experts tell us that it is not advisable to decree that the vaccine should be compulsory,” he said this week in the Senate, betting on “the truth” so that the company agrees to be vaccinated.
However, yesterday the Galician PP came forward and presented Parliament with a bill to fine those who resist vaccination or PCR. De facto, this would make vaccination compulsory in the community.
According to the CIS barometer of November, 47% of Spaniards would not be vaccinated immediately, against 36.8% who would. Those who are reluctant to get vaccinated are up three points from the October barometer, despite the fact that the survey was conducted around the time Pfizer was releasing very encouraging initial results on the efficacy of its compound.
The Spanish vaccine
Spain has also joined the race for an effective vaccine. However, cuts in science over the past decade and a lack of competitiveness in the research sector have weighed on possible advances in the development of a Spanish-branded remedy for the coronavirus.
Some of the most advanced studies, although still in a preclinical situation, are those led at the National Biotechnology Center (CNB-CSIC) by Mariano Esteban and Juan García Arriaza, on the basis of a smallpox vaccine; that of the Margarita Salas Biological Research Center, by Vicente Larraga, which uses a coronavirus antigen gene; or that of Luis Enjuanes and Isabel Sola, also at CSIC, who create a synthetic virus to generate immunity.
Spain is part of a Phase III vaccine study with the Janssen Project, which will begin recruiting volunteers at eight Spanish hospitals to study the efficacy of its vaccine from December and which has already been approved by the Spanish Agency for Medicines and Health Products.