How does Portugal see Spain

In Spain, whether you will be vaccinated soon or in the distant future largely depends on your profession. If you work as a waiter in Madrid, you may have a good chance of getting your turn early, at least if Isabel Díaz Ayuso has the will. The Madrid regional president drew attention to herself last week with her attempt to prioritize the staff in restaurants or taxi drivers when vaccinating.

However, Minister of Health Carolina Darias ultimately decides. At least some of the vaccine candidates apparently want to select them according to occupational groups. The vaccine from Astra Zeneca is initially intended to vaccinate people who are between 18 and 55 years old, have no serious previous illnesses and work as police officers, firefighters, soldiers or teachers. The media quote from the current draft of the national vaccination plan.

Spain is ahead of Germany in terms of the quota of immunized

So far, Spain has given almost 2.2 million doses of vaccine, and when converted to the number of inhabitants, 4.6 percent of the population was vaccinated with one or two doses. This puts Spain ahead of Germany in a country comparison, where so far only 2.8 percent of people have been vaccinated. If a delivery from the manufacturer fails, you improvise. When bottlenecks arose in January, individual regions decided to inoculate all doses that had already been delivered instead of holding back the quota for a second dose.

The vaccination debate in Spain focuses on practical questions like these: When do you vaccinate people who have already had an infection? Spain is having this discussion for a reason. There is now a significant proportion of the population that has survived the infection. This week, Spain passed the three million recorded infections mark. However, experts suspect that the number of unreported cases is much higher. It is estimated that nine million people in Spain have already been infected with the Sars-CoV-2 virus. According to official information, 63,000 people died of or with the virus.

Nationwide, 329 new infections per 100,000 inhabitants were still found in the past seven days, with strong differences between the individual regions. But the values ​​are falling, Spain seems to have passed the peak of the third wave. Some regions like Madrid and Catalonia are already easing their measures. Many epidemiologists think this is not a good idea because the level of infection rates is still high.

You refer to neighboring Portugal as a warning example. There the government emphasizes that the British virus variant is decisive for the skyrocketing number of infections since the beginning of the year. But more and more experts, such as the head of the Association of Doctors in the Public Sector, Ricardo Mexia, suspect that the lifting of the contact restrictions around Christmas is the main reason why the health system is now on the brink of collapse.

There is again a curfew in Portugal

The lockdown that Portugal imposed a good two weeks ago is now having an effect. There is a general curfew, you can only leave the house if you can provide valid reasons. The number of new infections is now falling. However, this relaxation has not yet reached the hospitals. There are still 860 Covid patients in the intensive care units that are improvised in many places, much more than the health system can handle.

In view of this acute medical challenge, Portugal managed to start vaccinations relatively well in the past few weeks. 400,000 cans have now been inoculated. 2.9 percent of the population have received one dose of vaccine so far, a good one percent have already received two doses. This puts the country above the EU average.

But the question of prioritization is also controversial in Portugal. The rate of those already fully vaccinated is highest among healthcare workers and security guards. Here, 20 percent of the people are already fully vaccinated. In Portugal's nursing homes, on the other hand, it is just three percent.