Friday 3rd September 2021 – PRESS OFFICE with Mike Smith
The regional health secretary, Ana Barceló, has announced that 133 mass vaccination points located through the Comunidad Valenciana will start to offer COVID-19 vaccine jabs without the need for a prior appointment from next Tuesday 7th September.
She explained that “this open vaccination period will remain available until the end of the September when the mass vaccination points will be closed, after which those people who have not yet been vaccinated will have to attend their local health centre to receive the jabs.
The vaccination campaign in the Comunidad Valenciana has developed at a good pace since it began last December, and it has maintained a planned and ordered strategy in which it sought to protect the most vulnerable members of the community first. Barceló said that the objective was always to reach the target of 70% of the population over the age of 12 being fully vaccinated by October 9th. Now, at the beginning of September, 80% has completed the schedule with just over 1.6 million vaccine jabs being administered in just over a month, an average of 42,000 each day during the summer period. In total, 7.1 million doses have been administered.
Barceló highlighted the immense work carried out by health professionals who have shown unprecedented organizational and logistical effort which has allowed the region to achieve the goals that were set out ahead of schedule. She also thanks the citizens of the Comunidad Valenciana for their involvement and exemplary behaviour for the high participation in the vaccination campaign. “They arrived at the vaccination points not only to protect themselves against COVID-19 but also to take care of their nearest and dearest and, ultimately, protect society as a whole”.
The recent hospital figures have reflected the effectiveness of the vaccine, preventing serious cases of the disease as well as deaths, due to the vaccines ability to significantly reduce the lethality of the disease. Just over 82% of those admitted to ICU wards suffering from COVID-19 had not completed the vaccination process, whilst 57.8% of those admitted to general wards were not fully immunized.
Thus, the regional health secretary has called on all those who have not yet been vaccinated to come forward and receive their jabs, not just for their own health but also for those around them. To date, 52,154 people in the region have explicitly rejected the option to receive the vaccine, just over 1% of the registered population of the Comunidad Valenciana.
Getting ready for the new school year
Half of all students over the age of 12 in the Comunidad Valenciana will be starting the new school year having received full immunization and it is expected that this will rise to 80% within two weeks of the return to school. Thus, the regional health secretary has said that it will be a safe school year as planned by the public health authorities, with education centres following up protocols drawn up by the Spanish Government as well as those of the regional education department, measures which include a minimum interpersonal distance of 1½ metres in classrooms, mandatory masks, and stable social bubbles.
Further De-escalation on the Horizon
Barceló also explained that the epidemiological situation in the Comunidad Valenciana has improved considerably in recent weeks, with a fall in infections that has returned the region to a position of two months ago and very close to the Medium Risk level as well as other indicators in a downward trend that suggests that the region is on its way out of the so-called ‘fourth wave’. Indeed, the R rate for the Comunidad Valenciana is currently 0.81; this figure measures the ability of a disease to spread amongst the population. A figure less than 1 means that it is struggling to find new people to infect.
Thus, this improvement and the continued promotion of the vaccination campaign will allow the regional authorities to look at the de-escalation options, which will be defined after an interdepartmental meeting on Monday 6th September.
Barceló said that she is optimistic but insisted that there is still a need to be prudent, especially during these next few days when popular events such as the Fallas are being held: “we must not forget that the Delta variant is behind 99.6% of infections and this variant is 40%-60% more transmissible than the majority variant of the first wave”.