Spain’s Health Ministry has again changed its strategy for administering the AstraZeneca vaccine, announcing late Wednesday that it will only give the jab to people older than 60 following rare cases of blood clots in younger people who received the vaccine.
But Spain has only approved the coronavirus vaccine for people younger than 65 years old and essential workers.
That means the vaccine is now limited to people between the ages of 60 and 65, but Health Minister Carolina Darias said Spain’s Public Health Commission will decide Thursday whether to give the jabs to people older than 65.
Spain’s medical agency has previously said there was a lack of data to support AstraZeneca’s efficacy in the elderly population.
What will happen with people younger than 60 years old who are waiting for their second dose of AstraZeneca is “still to be determined," Darias said.
Earlier in the day, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) announced that researchers discovered a “possible link” between the AstraZeneca jabs and rare blood clots.
EMA officials said that although most of the blood clots studied occurred in women aged 60 or younger, they could not conclude that any particular group was at higher risk for the rare side effect because younger people had received more doses. They also insisted that the risks outweighed the benefits.
UK health officials, on the other hand, recommended against giving the vaccine to people younger than 30.
Spain decided to stop giving it to people under 60 “out of precaution,” said Darias.
The health minister also announced that the country would loosen a controversial law that makes masks mandatory in all public outdoor spaces, including forests or beaches.
Spain reported 8,788 new coronavirus infections Wednesday, up slightly from the same day last week. The positivity rate of tests and occupation of intensive care units also crept up.
The country has administered 9.3 million vaccine jabs, enough to give 13.5% of the Spanish population at least partial immunity.