The Minister of Health, Salvador Illa, has advanced that first vaccines against COVID-19 will arrive in Spain “in less than a month”, and has defended that they will be just as safe as those already approved and that they are included in the vaccination schedule for the entire population.
“Our great horizon of hope is the proximity of vaccines. If everything goes as expected and the requirements of the European Medicines Agency (EMA) are met, the first vaccines will arrive in our country in less than a month, “he highlighted in his appearance at the Health and Consumer Affairs Commission this Thursday.
The minister has indicated that the clinical trials of the vaccines “are achieving very promising results in record time”, but has assured that they will be safe. “The vaccines that finally pass the criteria will have the same security levels than any of the approved “, has guaranteed.
In this sense, he has argued that the review of vaccines by the EMA “is being carried out no shortcuts“.” With the same measures that usually exist in other drugs. The difference is that the EMA has launched a more agile process, which enables continuous evaluation as the results are generated, instead of at the end of the procedure, as has been done until now “, he argued.
“There are currently four vaccines being evaluated by the EMA: Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca and Janssen. On December 29 at the latest a statement is expected on Pfizer’s and on January 12, on Moderna’s.Illa recalled, who has insisted that “only safe and effective vaccines will be approved.”
In her presentation, Illa has defended that they will have “an extraordinary control” of pharmacovigilance, that is, of the possible side effects or reactions that may be found after the administration of the vaccine. “We understand the doubts that citizens may harbor. But what we do know today is that vaccines save lives and protect us against many diseases. Thanks to vaccines, for example, smallpox has been eradicated since 1980,” he detailed.
The minister has pointed out that “It will be necessary to identify possible risks that have not been previously identified” and he has ensured that “all information related to adverse reactions will be continuously analyzed” to vaccines. This pharmacovigilance system will work in coordination with the European system that monitors reactions to vaccines, Illa explained.
The head of Health has announced that the vaccination plan will be “flexible” and that it will be subject to scientific news. The supply chain, he continued, will be “orderly and efficient” and recalled that a plan is being developed to trace all doses.
Illa has underlined the importance of managing a vaccination registry, in which the Government has been working “since September” with the Communities, and that it will start working as soon as the first vaccine is given. The minister has indicated that there will be a single vaccination registry against Covid, which will include the existing doses, those administered and the names of the patients to whom the vaccine is administered, among other data.
Trust in the vaccine
The minister has pointed out that communication and “maximum transparency” is the key to transmitting confidence in vaccines to Spanish citizens. “We are convinced that communication has played an essential role in ensuring the effectiveness of measures against the virus. Now it has to be more essential to convey a message of safety and confidence in vaccines to the public,” he added.
Despite the imminent arrival of vaccines, Illa has affirmed that Spain is in “a very critical moment of the pandemic.” “We have just passed a long bridge, we are at the gates of Christmas and winter … We can’t let our guard downWe must continue to maintain security measures “, he claimed.
Despite this warning, Illa has celebrated the decrease for five consecutive weeks of the cumulative incidence in Spain, going from 530 cases per 100,000 inhabitants in 14 days in the first week of November to 193 this Wednesday, according to data published by the Ministry of Health.
“We continue with very high transmission figures, the decrease in incidence is being slow. We already know that the situations of reduction of the curve are fragile, so we must remain prudent. We still have an important journey until we reach the goal of lowering the incidence to 25 “, he added.
“We can celebrate, but at home”
“The history of medicine teaches us that humanity has managed to eradicate diseases thanks to vaccines,” Illa stressed, while explaining that the Spanish strategy, which provides for the vaccine to be voluntary, will require “enough time” to relax security measures.
Illa has asked to avoid a rebound associated with the Christmas holidays and recalled: “We cannot relax now. We have to take care of the horizon of hope that we have built together. It is important to celebrate different parties together. In these moments, taking care of yourself is taking care of the other. To do this, first of all, you have to reduce mobility and contacts, you have to wear a mask, avoid crowds, do not leave the house if you have symptoms, no matter how minimal. We can celebrate the holidays, but at home, “he concluded.