Spain to begin Covid-19 vaccination programme in January

Government allocates more than €1bn for coronavirus vaccines next year and forms committee to determine who is inoculated first

epa07371808 Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez delivers an institutional statement after an extraordinary cabinet meeting at the Moncloa Presidential Palace in Madrid, Spain, 15 February 2019. Sanchez announced early elections to be held on 28 April 2019, after the government did not find enough support in the Spain's Lower House of parliament to pass the 2019 budget.  EPA/CHEMA MOYA

Spain will begin a coronavirus vaccination programme in January and expects to have inoculated a significant part of the population within six months, Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said on Sunday.

Mr Sanchez said Spain and Germany were the first EU countries to have a complete vaccination plan in place.

"The campaign will start in January and have 13,000 vaccination points," he said after a two-day online summit of G20 leaders.

"A very substantial part of the population will be able to be vaccinated, with all guarantees, in the first half of the year."

Spain has a population of 47 million. The government has allocated more than €1 billion ($1.19bn) for coronavirus vaccines next year and has formed a committee to determine who will be inoculated first.

Spain will implement a single national strategy, starting with priority groups, Mr Sanchez said.

He said he would present the plan to Cabinet on Tuesday and that more health professionals would be recruited.

"We have a tough few months ahead of us but the road map has been drawn up," Mr Sanchez said.

Drug makers Pfizer and Moderna have announced trials with more than 90 per cent effectiveness.

Spanish officials have said the country hopes to get the first 20 million vaccine doses from Pfizer early next year.

Spain has western Europe's second highest tally of confirmed coronavirus infections after France, with about 1.5 million cases and 46,619 deaths.