Carolina Darias made her first appearance before the Congress health committee on Friday. | Efe


Spain's health minister, Carolina Darias, said on Friday the regions already know how many doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine they will be receiving over the next five weeks. This is despite delays in delivery.

Appearing before the Congress health committee for the first time since succeeding Salvador Illa as minister, Darias defended the government's management of the vaccination programme, saying that it is "progressing at a good pace". "The common strategy is working; the pace is optimal."

Darias issued an assurance that 70% of the population will be immunised by the summer, adding that 80% of care home residents and personnel will have been vaccinated before the end of March. "I can assure you that no one in Spain who wants to get vaccinated is going to miss out."

She stressed that the vaccine alone will not put an end to the pandemic in the first months of 2021, but she pointed to the impact that vaccination is having in care homes. "Preliminary data show that the vaccine is having a protective effect; this is very encouraging."

The minister was of the view that "we are beginning to bend the curve" of the third wave, even though current indicators show "very high or extreme risk scenarios" in Spain. There are still "tough weeks" to come.