Spain hopes to receive first Pfizer vaccines in early 2021

MADRID (Reuters) - Spain stands to receive its first vaccines against COVID-19 developed by U.S. pharmaceuticals Pfizer and its partner BioNTech in early 2021, its health minister said on Tuesday, under a deal being negotiated by the European Union.

Reuters November 11, 2020 00:12:00 IST
Spain hopes to receive first Pfizer vaccines in early 2021

Spain hopes to receive first Pfizer vaccines in early 2021

MADRID (Reuters) - Spain stands to receive its first vaccines against COVID-19 developed by U.S. pharmaceuticals Pfizer and its partner BioNTech in early 2021, its health minister said on Tuesday, under a deal being negotiated by the European Union.

The EU hopes to sign a contract soon for millions of doses of the vaccine, the European Commission announced on Monday, hours after the two companies developing it said it had proved more than 90% effective, in what could be a major victory in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.

Spain would initially get 20 million vaccine doses, enough to immunize 10 million people, Health Minister Salvador Illa said in an interview with state broadcaster TVE, adding that the vaccination would be free for everyone in the country.

Enough people would be vaccinated by April-May, so that the fight against the pandemic in Spain would move to another stage, Illa added.

With 1,381,218 infections reported so far, Spain has the second highest coronavirus tally in western Europe after France.

A total of 39,345 people have died of the virus in Spain, many regions of which are back under lockdown restrictions to stem the spread of the disease.

Pfizer has offered to help with the logistics to distribute the vaccine, which has to be kept deep frozen to be effective, Science Minister Pedro Duque told a news briefing later.

Spain's central and regional governments will make a decision on who will have priority based on "medical criteria", Duque said.

Illa said the Spanish government would act to convince a substantial portion of the population which polls suggest are wary of any new vaccine against COVID-19 .

"We will tell the truth, which is that vaccines save lives," Illa said.

More than 40% of respondents surveyed by pollster CIS in September said they would not vaccinate immediately if a vaccine became available.

(Reporting by Inti Landauro, Belen Carreno and Nathan Allen; Editing by Andrei Khalip and Gareth Jones)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

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