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Spain Reaches Milestone of 70 Per Cent Fully Vaccinated

Photos supplied by Pool Moncloa/Borja Puig de la Bellacasa

More than 70 per cent of Spain’s population have now received their full COVID-19 vaccine course. This was the target set by Spanish prime minister Pedro Sánchez back in April when he announced that, by the end of August, Spain would have vaccinated at least 33,215,556 people out of a current total population of 47,450,795.

According to the government, Spain has the most people vaccinated in the G20 with both one and two doses, and is the fourth European Union country to reach the target of fully vaccinating 70 per cent of its entire population (after Malta, Portugal and Denmark).

News of the milestone coincided with the release of a report by the National Statistics Institute (Spanish acronym INE) that noted a significant boost to tourism this summer (compared with 2020) which, says the government, confirms that Spain “has managed to be perceived as a safe destination by millions of travellers”.

Produced by the INE for the Statistics on Tourist Movements at Borders (Frontur) and the Tourism Spending Survey (Egatur), the statistics show that Spain received 4.4 million international tourists in July, 78.3 per cent more than in the same month in 2020, the average amount spent per tourist was €1,190 euros (19.3 per cent more than a year ago) and the average duration of trips was 8.3 days.

Welcoming the positive figures, and expressing the hope that the trend would continue in August, minister for industry, trade and tourism Reyes Maroto said, “The confidence of international tourists in our country is due to the effective progress of the vaccination process, which places us at the head of the world powers, together with the leadership shown by the Spanish tourism sector in the development and deployment of strict security protocols. This is in addition to the government’s determined promotion of the EU’s Digital COVID Certificate and the effective promotion of our destinations carried out by Turespaña and its network of regional ministries abroad.”

She said at least seven out of every 10 tourists who visited Spain in July had travelled by air. “The rapid and effective deployment promoted by the government of the EU’s Digital Covid Certificate has contributed, as well as the relaxation of entry requirements for third-country nationals when the epidemiological situation has allowed it.”

On a regional basis, according to the INE, this summer Murcia enjoyed its best occupancy rates in all destinations and for all accommodation types since the start of the pandemic, and experienced the second best tourism recovery of all of Spain’s 17 regions.

Corvera Airport Murcia also reported positive figures, with a record number of national connections and an average of 56 weekly operations from 18 cities in five countries. This summer the airport operated at 70 per cent capacity overall, and 85 per cent only taking into account national flights.

Pacesetting Vaccination Program

Prime minister Sánchez celebrated Spain’s vaccination milestone during a visit this week to the Centralised Vaccination Service in Guadalajara, accompanied by minister for health Carolina Darias. “Today we have 70 per cent of the population vaccinated, 100 per cent pride in Spain and 100 per cent confidence that we are going to win this battle,” he said.

After meeting the first woman vaccinated in Spain, Araceli Hidalgo (a resident of the Los Olmos care home), and the nurse (Carmen Carboné) who gave her the injection, Sánchez praised the role of the professionals working in the vaccination system, as well as citizens “who have been responsible and have trusted in science, without allowing themselves to be dragged along by hoaxes and superstitions”.

He also praised the overall health system for having far exceeded expectations and having administered 66 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccination in eight months, “while the last flu vaccination campaign was considered a success with 14 million doses administered in eight weeks”.

Sanchez recalled that almost all people in care homes and frontline health workers had been vaccinated by March, “leading to a lowering of the vaccination age and becoming the first European country, at the beginning of May, to immunise everyone over 80.

“Today, more than 92 per cent of those over 40 are fully vaccinated, and almost 100 per cent of those over 70. This makes it possible for the youngest to receive the vaccine now (but) this is not just about numbers. These are lives we save. Lives that we protect.”

In total, 66,130,220 doses have been given in Spain (up to and including 31 August), which means that more than 36.5 million people (77 per cent of the population) have at least one dose, and more than 33.3 million have been fully vaccinated.

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