Spain to keep registry of people who refuse Covid vaccine

Spain has said it will log the names of those who refuse to be vaccinated against Covid-19, creating a database that could be shared with countries across Europe.

Days after EU countries began rolling out the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, Spain’s health minister said on Monday that those who reject the vaccine for “whatever reason” would be documented.

“A registry will be kept, that will also be shared with our European partners … to record those who have been offered it and rejected it,” Salvador Illa told the broadcaster La Sexta. “The document will not be made public and it will be done with the utmost respect for the legislation on data protection.”

The European commission did not immediately respond to questions over whether this registry reflected an EU-wide initiative or what role Brussels might play in sharing this information.

In Spain, the vaccination campaign – launched on Sunday with the first dose given to a 96-year-old woman living in a care home – is being carried out on a voluntary basis.

A poll in early December suggested 40.5% of people in the country were willing to be vaccinated immediately, while another 16% said they would do so if the vaccine was shown to be “reliable”.

Spain is among the European countries hardest hit by the virus, with the official death toll climbing to more than 50,000 on Monday. It has confirmed nearly 1.9m cases to date.

Health officials are braced for a rise in the numbers. “We cannot and should not rule out a third wave,” Illa told reporters.

Against this backdrop, health officials have sought to directly address hesitancies over the vaccinations. This week, a website was launched featuring answers to 25 questions about the vaccine as well as detailed information about how the different vaccines work.

In the coming weeks, Spain’s vaccination rollout will focus on the most vulnerable as well as health are workers. The government expects 15-20 million people in the country of 47 million will be vaccinated against the virus by June.


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