Health refuses to vaccinate with Janssen under 40 despite the shortage of Pfizer and the explosion of the fifth wave

Updated Friday, July 23, 2021 –
20:29

Andalusia, Madrid, Catalonia and Galicia have explicitly requested it in the Public Health Commission held this Thursday and the ministry has rejected the proposal.

A paramedic shows Janssen’s vaccine.

Vaccination against Covid-19 has gone at a spectacular rate in recent weeks with more than 10 million people immunized in the last month and more than 15 million since the beginning of June. In fact, this very Thursday the goal set by President Sánchez has been reached of reaching 25 million immunized people for this week.

However, the amount of vaccines Spain is receiving now is about half of those it received any week in June.

And despite this, Health refuses to allow the use of doses of Janssen to people under 40 although it is approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA).

Minister Darias announced this Tuesday after the press conference of the Interterritorial Council that in the next few days 2.2 million vaccines will be received. However, the week of July 12, for example, the minister herself announced the arrival of more than 4 million doses, of which three million were from Pfizer alone. Although these amounts are due to an advance in the doses committed for the second half of the year that the North American manufacturer advanced to the European Union to favor the vaccination rate. Therefore, the vaccines that Spain is receiving now are the ones that were initially committed, as explained by Health to this newspaper. Be that as it may, an autonomous region like Andalusia receives between 800,000 and 900,000 weekly doses in June and this week it has received just over 400,000.

“This week 1,765,640 will arrive from Pfizer and 474,000 from Moderna,” Carolina Darias said last Tuesday. “Jansen is scheduled to ship next week and Moderna will double the vaccines it ships during the month of August, exceeding 900,000 doses a week.”

The refusal of Health

However, in light of what happened at the meeting of the Public Health Commission this Thursday, it seems that the executive does not have the doses of the manufacturer Janssen to immunize those under 40 years of age, who are the bulk of the group that still to be immunized in Spain. Four autonomous communities – Andalusia, Madrid, Catalua and Galicia – have formally requested in said meeting to Health to allow vaccination with said formula to those under the age of 40 who voluntarily request it . But the response of the department headed by Carolina Darias has been no, despite the difficulties in offering more first doses to the youngest who have already expressed Galicia or Madrid and the explosion of cases that the delta variant is causing in this fifth wave.

“They have told us that just as they no longer send us Astrazeneca, they will not send us Janssen once we finish the rescue of over 40 years when the proposal that Andalusia has made is that everyone who wants over 18 years to be vaccinated with Janssen you can get this vaccine “, explained this Thursday the Minister of Health Jess Aguirre in the plenary session of the Andalusian chamber. “It is not understood that they stop sending us AstraZeneca or Janssen when there are still many Andalusians to vaccinate who want to do it and cannot.

The Janssen vaccine , based on a technology very similar to that of AstraZeneca, it is approved by the (EMA) for those over 18 years, without nuances. In Spain, however, its use was first established for the age group 70 to 79 and the age was lowered to the population over 60 and over 50, until finally being approved for those over 40. But there the age limit has been slowed. Health does not want to open its hand to its use for people under 40, except in the exceptions already approved a few weeks ago: Erasmus students, seasonal workers, sailors, homeless people and other groups that benefit from a single dose.

Sources from the Ministry of Health assure – and Minister Darias pointed it out last Tuesday at a press conference – that the decision comes from the experts of the vaccine presentation. The same experts who produced a report discouraging the mixture of vaccines for those under 60 vaccinated with Atrazeneca that finally ended up approving Health in the Interterritorial Council.

It should be remembered that both the AstraZeneca and Janssen vaccines are based on adenovirus and both have shown risk of thrombotic events. ANDn Europe there has been a confirmed case of death due to thrombotic events with the Janssen vaccine, in Belgium, and the use of this vaccine is suspended in 7 countries (mainly the Nordic countries) due to the risk of thrombi and has age restrictions for its use in 6 other countries.

However, in Spain more than 1.6 million doses of this formula have been administered and, according to the latest Pharmacovigilance report published by the Spanish Agency for Medicines and Health Products, there have only been 20 serious side effects and no deaths.


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