Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez has said that Spain should aim to avoid a third wave of Covid-19 infections, rather than aim for herd immunity, as the Pfizer vaccine is rolled out across the country.
The PM made his comments during his televised end-of-year address, as he presented a report on his last 12 months in office.
“Our goal is to avoid a third wave of coronavirus at Christmas, not herd immunity,” Sanchez said, adding: “We cannot and must not lower our guard.”
He added that people must continue to follow the coronavirus restrictions in order to ensure the success of Spain’s vaccination program.
Spaniards have started being inoculated with the Pfizer vaccine this week after the country received around 370,000 doses of the US-German jab, which was approved for use in the EU last week.
In March, Spain adopted one of the world’s strictest lockdowns in a bid to stem the spread of Covid-19, as opposed to the herd immunity approach initially touted by some countries and adopted by Sweden.
Herd immunity, where a large proportion of the population becomes immune to a disease, can be achieved through mass vaccination or by controlled infection, where people are slowly infected.
In October, president of the Spanish Society of Preventive Medicine, Public Health and Hygiene, Rafael Orti, calculated that it could take around two years for 70 or 80 percent of Spaniards to develop immunity to Covid-19.
Coronavirus infection rates remain high in Spain, with an average of 246 cases per 100,000 people, according to the Minister of Health Salvador Illa who on Tuesday warned: “We cannot rule out a third wave.”
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