70% of the Spanish population is already vaccinated against Covid. According to the document published by the Ministry of Health this Wednesday, September 1, more than 33.3 million Spaniards have been fully immunized with the AstraZeneca, Pfizer, Moderna (two doses) and Janssen (single-dose) vaccines, delaying a day the challenge set by the President of the Government, Pedro Sánchez.
The figure is encouraging, as it highlights the great rate of vaccination that Spain has, but insufficient to achieve what was sought when the president of the Executive set this objective. Group immunity to Covid-19 cannot be achieved with 70% due to the Delta variant (la india) and it is necessary to wait until at least 90% of the population is vaccinated.
If Spain continues with the cruising speed marked where daily punctures exceed 200,000, the new percentage necessary to achieve herd immunity will arrive in approximately 47 days. It all depends on the number of vaccines available in Spain because, if there are many doses available, the date could be shortened.
If we take into account that in Spain there are 47,329,981 inhabitants as of January 1, 2020, to reach 90% it would be necessary to vaccinate 42,596,982 Spaniards. A figure for which 9.4 million more people would need to be vaccinated than are currently immunized.
The figure is reduced if, as other experts say, the figure to be reached is 85% of the population. Which would translate into a minimum of 35 more days to reach the goal.
At the moment, the Minister of Health, Carolina Darias, has avoided setting a new percentage to achieve group immunity against the coronavirus.
In an interview in OndaCero, Darias recalled that the virus changes and mutates and that, therefore, it is necessary to continue increasing vaccination, avoiding giving a percentage to achieve group immunity.
Why doesn’t group immunity reach 70%?
The problem came with the Delta variant. The virus is more transmissible not only than the original strain but also the rest of the variants that public health agencies have looked at.
“It is two and a half times more transmissible than the Alpha variant, for each case between 6.25 and 7 cases can be transmitted,” Angela Domínguez, spokesperson for the Spanish Epidemiology Society, explained to EL ESPAÑOL.
If there was no Delta variant, would we already be close to group immunity? “Probably yes,” says the expert. On the other hand, when taking into account its greater transmissibility, it is likely that it will be necessary to achieve a vaccination coverage that is close to 85%. “And the effectiveness of the vaccine in real life is around 80%, so in practice we will need almost 100% of the population to be vaccinated.”
Therefore, the 70% figure is not a cause for special celebration. Reaching it is an important advance, but the expert has already warned that “this will not mean that transmission in Spain is halted.”