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May 19, 2022
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Spain has announced plans to set up a register of people who refuse to receive a vaccination for the coronavirus. According to the country’s top public health official, Spain plans to share the registry with officials in other European Union nations.
The news came just one day after Spain began its rollout of the Pfizer and BioNTech vaccine with a plan to inoculate 2.5 million individuals in high-risk categories before March. States across the European Union are rolling out their version of the vaccine. In other interviews, Spanish officials have shared the rationale behind the register: They want to understand the reasons why citizens would decline the vaccine. Maria Jesus Lamas of Spain’s Medicines Agency said that the hope is to “understand the causes behind declining the vaccination” and added that the registry would be anonymous.
The country was an early epicenter of the virus and a quick adapter of strict lockdowns. They rank among the top 10 countries worldwide in terms of confirmed coronavirus cases with nearly 2 million, but still fall well below the world-leading United States at nearly 20 million. Spanish Health Minister Salvador Illa said that the information would be for the use of health officials only. “What will be done is a register, which will be shared with our European partners… of those people who have been offered it and have simply rejected it,” he said in a televised interview with La Sexta. “It is not a document which will be made public and it will be done with the utmost respect for data protection.”
“There’s no chance of identifying anyone in the registry,” she said in an interview with SER radio. Illa reiterated that citizens were allowed to refuse the vaccine for any reason. Spain has been incredibly strict during the pandemic and still has overnight curfews in place through the spring, but Illa assured viewers that they still have the ultimate right to control what goes into their own bodies. “People who decide not to get vaccinated, which we think is a mistake, are within their rights,” he said during a press conference. “We are going to try to solve doubts. Getting vaccinated saves lives, it is the way out of this pandemic.” (Yahoo News)
“What will be done is a register, which will be shared with our European partners of those people who have been offered [a vaccine] and have simply rejected it,” the minister said in an interview with La Sexta, a Spanish television channel, on Monday. “It is not a document which will be made public and it will be done with the utmost respect for data protection.”
“People who are offered a therapy that they refuse for any reason, it will be noted in the register… that there is no error in the system, not to have given this person the possibility of being vaccinated,” he added. Illa reportedly noted that while vaccination is voluntary, officials in the country “all see that the best form to defeat the virus is to get all vaccinated – the more the better.” He portrayed receiving a vaccination as “an act of solidarity toward our loved ones and our citizenship.”
BBC News reported that some in the country are still reluctant to receive the vaccination, though that number has fallen dramatically of late. The news outlet cited a recent poll showing the number of Spanish citizens who said they will not take the vaccine fell from 47% to 28% in November. “People who decide not to get vaccinated, which we think is a mistake, are within their rights,” Illa added during the interview. “We are going to try to solve doubts. Getting vaccinated saves lives, it is the way out of this pandemic.”
It is unclear whether Spain’s initiative will persuade more people to receive the vaccine or whether it will have the opposite effect. It was also reported this week that “vaccine passports” may soon be required to travel or enter certain venues (Clarion News).
POLITICS EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE