The vaccination process in the Balearic Islands has been deliberately slowed down because supplies have become erratic, according to the Ministry of Health.
The Balearic Islands received the normal sized shipment of 5,850 doses of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine this week, but last week only 3,900 doses arrived and next week’s shipment is also expected to be lower than normal.
“We don't know how many will come, so it’s very difficult for us because we have to plan and organise for the vaccines we get,” said IB-Salut Care Director Eugenia Carandell. “If we receive less, each group of vaccinations will be completed later than expected.”
Servei de Salut’s the priority is to give those who’ve already started the process their second dose, particularly the most vulnerable in Nursing Homes.
Healthcare Professionals from the Juaneda group and some second-line health workers will receive their first vaccine this week.
By Tuesday night, 23,210 vaccines of the 28,440 received had been administered and 1,636 residents and 1,350 Healthcare Workers at Nursing Homes have now received their second dose of the vaccine.
The first shipment of 600 doses of the Moderna vaccine has already arrived and half of them have been administered, but the second shipment of 900 doses has been delayed by a week.
A third Covid vaccine by AstraZeneca is still awaiting approval.
These setbacks have prompted the Ministry of Health to reserve doses to guarantee that those who’ve had their first dose are able to complete the cycle.
“We are waiting for a continuous flow of vaccines to arrive and when we receive the same amount every week we will continue,” said Carandell. "We will continue very slowly with the first doses, but if there comes a time when we don’t have any more we will have to stop," she said. “The vaccine distribution problem is at European level and it affects every country in the Union. There’s nothing we want more than to have the doses and do a macro-vaccination, but neither we nor anyone else can do that”.
President Armengol said on Tuesday that the Balearic Islands have the capacity to vaccinate the entire population within three months and that Communities are working with the Ministry of Health so that when vaccines are available a larger group of people can be immunised.
"We could vaccine the rest of the Healthcare Workers and all the over 80’s at the same time; our Primary Care teams go to homes regularly, so it could be done with relative ease,” explained Carandell.
So, the preparations have been made and everything is in place for mass vaccination, now everything hinges on supplies.