Carlos Villafáfila, the Balearics vaccination coordinator

Carlos Villafáfila, the Balearics vaccination coordinator, who has been vaccinated.

07-02-2021

If it was good enough for God's representative on Mallorcan earth, then it had to also have been for the Balearic health service's coordinator of the vaccination programme and a social welfare councillor in Pollensa. While it was being questioned if the Palma home for retired priests, which was where the bishop was vaccinated, is actually an official residence for the elderly, the director for health care was pushed before the media to try and explain how various officials from the health service had come to be vaccinated.

Experimenting with leftovers

It would seem that at the start of the programme, things were experimental. Despite protocols seemingly existing for absolutely everything of a Covid nature, there wasn't one for knowing what to do with the day's leftover vaccines. Carlos Villafáfila, the programme's coordinator, was vaccinated because the "first days of the vaccination needed a little practice". Moreover, everyone vaccinated formed part of a group who should have been, stated Eugenia Carandell, who hadn't been vaccinated.

Protecting the vaccination data

Nor had the mayor of Pollensa been vaccinated, but the social welfare councillor had been. Tomeu Cifre, the mayor, at one point invoked data protection in sidestepping questions about this, and Carandell was to bring data protection up as well. The law prohibits there being sight of the list of people vaccinated. Law or not, resignations were being demanded left, right and centre.

Three months to vaccinate everyone

With Balearic businesses ganging up in demanding mass vaccination as of yesterday, President Armengol was again insisting that the whole of the population will be vaccinated within three months. However, there was a catch to this, as she admitted to parliament on Tuesday - a lack of production (to which add lack of delivery).

Still, vaccination was going swimmingly in the UK, if not in the Balearics, and the tourism season received more than just a vaccine booster when it was reported that the UK will have a vaccination passport ready in time for the spring half-term, or maybe before. Excellent news, or it would have been if there could have been some assurance that the vaccination programme here will have caught the UK up by then.

And everyone's getting a passport

Easter, tourism-wise, was looking "very difficult", the president observed on Monday, but June was a different matter. By then, the Balearics should have a "guarantee to be able to start the tourism season", and her government was working on issues such as mobility guarantees and the vaccination passport.

Everyone was working on a passport, and Easter may not have been as difficult as the president had suggested. The national tourism minister, Reyes Maroto, reckoned that national tourists will enable a restarting of tourism at Easter. It was necessary for her to say later in the week that she had only meant this if the health conditions allow it.

Accepting bad numbers

The first week of the month, and we were all desperate to discover what the latest statistics were. Predictable enough they were, as unemployment in the Balearics was up 37% compared with January last year.

The tourism numbers were equally disastrous but wholly unsurprising. Foreign tourism in 2020 was the lowest for 50 years. In the Balearics, a mere 1.72 million foreign tourists arrived last year. In 2019, there had been 13.6 million. The level of spending was down by the same massive 87%.

While the reaction was one of stating the obvious, it was noticeable that no one was querying these statistics. In the good times, there are always the naysayers who refuse to accept the numbers - where are all these tourists?, where is all the spend?, they ask. When the times are rotten, it would seem that the numbers are accepted without question.

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