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WHO recommends use of AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine as two-dose shot, 8 to 12 weeks apart

A health worker prepares the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine in Madrid on January 12. Oscar Del Pozo/AFP/Getty Images

Spain’s health ministry said Wednesday that recovering Covid-19 patients who are under 55 and have no major health complications must wait six months from their diagnosis before receiving a vaccine.

The measure will apply to the three vaccines currently being distributed in Spain — AstraZeneca, Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna — and is provisional pending further research.

In a document outlining the national Covid-19 vaccination strategy published Wednesday, the health ministry said that “the availability of the three authorized vaccines is insufficient to achieve in the short term universal access to them.”

“In addition, it is important to highlight that the current context of the vaccination against Covid-19 is conditioned by the serious epidemiological situation that we have been experiencing in the past few weeks, with an increase in infections and hospital admissions, with a increased risk for certain population groups, among whom we highlight the people with 80 or more years,” it said.

The health ministry called for “solidarity and for confidence” in the vaccine strategy and asked for the public to understand that in the “current epidemiological context, all efforts must be focused on those who could see their health most affected, even losing their lives due to being infected by the virus and contracting the disease.”

The statement also said that “current evidence indicates that reinfection is exceptional within six months of a SARSCoV-2 infection.” 

In December however, the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) said that “as the exact duration of natural immunity from COVID-19 infection is currently unknown, at this stage it is advisable not to exclude people with previous COVID-19 infection from vaccination.”

“Nevertheless, these aspects need to be followed up and updated according to the emerging evidence,” the ECDC said.

On January 27, the regional government of Madrid decided to stop administering first doses of their Covid-19 vaccines for the next two weeks due to growing uncertainty over its supply.

So far in Spain, the only people under 55 who are eligible to receive the vaccine are healthcare professionals.

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