Covid – Getting Vaccinated in Spain

More vaccines arrived today from Pfizer. 1.2 million doses added to the 8 million total we’ve already received in Spain. But its a drop in the bucket of the tidal wave needed to get this job done. In Spain, we need 80mm doses to get the entire population inoculated with the required two doses.

The focus here seems to be on the Astra Zeneca version. The one with the blood clot problem. The EU Medicine agency halted its use for a week, and then said the reward outweighs the risks of these weird blood clots in the brain that the Germans, Danes, Norwegians, and even the Brits are seeing. All of whom, now, are limiting the shots to those over the age of 60, because the blood clots show up in people under 60.

If we lived in any one of those countries, we would be happy they had made this change. I had a blood clot in November. I’m truly disinterested in having another one, this time in my brain. But in Spain, they are rolling right along with the strategy of giving it to all people under 65. You will get no choice, because those are the vaccines Spain is getting the most of. So our personal strategy – Jeff’s and mine – might change.

I have been reading more and more about expat Americans that are heading back to the US to camp out for a month and get the full course, before coming back to the EU. They are tired of waiting, don’t want the Astra Zeneca shot, and with force majeure both ways, they can go to the US, get either the Pfizer or Moderna (what we are calling The Good Vaccine in el Compartimento) and come back safely inoculated.

It’s not like we are looking to hop the line. I get we have to wait our turn. But I do not want that Astra Zeneca version, and if I am forced to get that here in Spain we will fly to the US, in double masks and plastic goggles, and make it happen at a Walmart or Walgreens in the first place we land. Surely, by June, it should be a piece of cake to come by.

I read the US will not approve the Astra Zeneca version and yet they have a stockpile of 5mm doses. So they are giving those to Canada and Mexico, who have approved it. I’m no fan of US healthcare, and big pharma has their fingers in the US drug approval process in a big way. This is why it seems pretty clear to me that if the US won’t approve the AZ vaccine, they know something that they are not sharing. But the Germans seems to know it, too.

I’m not an anti-vax person. I’m pro-vaccine, all the way. But I do feel that with all the issues I have experienced in the past year, I want to have a vaccine with the best chance of leaving me healthy after I get it. Why should I take a risk when there are other vaccine options? But, as of today, Spain will not give me that choice.

In the US, their philosophy is just to get the vaccine into arms. They have abandoned the group by group philosophy. The more shots in arms – even just one shot of the two shot series – the better. Everyone we know in the US has either gotten the shot or has an appointment on the schedule to get it in the next couple of weeks. These are people from 18-85. Pharmacies, school gyms, stadiums, convention centres, empty strip mall and airport parking lots, and on and on are operating as vaccination centres. They are leaving most health facilities free to handle other stuff. Actual illnesses – not just vaccines. But in Valencia, they are sticking with directing those who get the SMS message to get the jab, to the neighbourhood health centre. It just creates over crowding and limits the number of shots they can give per day.

The US handled the pandemic terribly. That was down to the Trump administrations terrible messaging and cold calculated disregard for the lives of their citizens. But when it’s comes to the vaccines, the government did what we do best in the US, they threw money at the problem. And they didn’t wait. They funded billions in research and bought up doses before there were even viable candidates. And they didn’t negotiate on price like the EU did. Because, that costs time and the US understood that He who exits this crisis first and opens their economy, wins. And that is exactly what is happening now.

Sure, you can provide amazing support for the population in the form of unemployment benefits. And pay businesses to be closed – as they have done, very well in Spain. But the Spanish economy is based on tourism. That’s the whole ball of wax on our economic engine. Every week tourists aren’t here. Every week that cafes and hotels are in some form of restriction or lock down. Every week that the internal population can’t travel. It’s another bullet to the gut of the economy. So the EU hesitating and signing contracts later than The Republic of Congo, because they wanted to haggle on the price, has cost billions to the economy in many many other ways. Its almost immeasurable. Penny wise and pound foolish.

The US will be back, perking right along as tourist season kicks into high gear this summer. Having only taken a brief hit to their GDP. And the EU? We will not be so lucky – as this vaccine rollout drags on through the height of the tourist season. Right when we could have turned a corner, we’ll find ourselves in a blind alley, waiting for help to arrive. Sure, the EU didn’t make the same mistakes of the austerity of the 2008 crisis. But they made other, similar ones. That of being tight fisted in the middle of an economic crisis – whether pandemic related or not – is yet another self inflicted wound.

We will not move back to the US, for a host of reasons. We own a home here, now. But it is hard to watch Europe stumble and struggle to look in the mirror, so they can swiftly pivot. But, swiftly pivoting is not a strong suit. And more and more, the ability to pivot is going to be the key to economic survival. I’m honestly not sure they have it in them.

8 thoughts on “Covid – Getting Vaccinated in Spain

  • Milito, age 65 just got texted by Sergas for his vaccination appointment today. Meanwhile, me age 69, 70 in May gets nada. What is happening here??? I need to get to the US vaccinated.

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    • I found out yesterday its because they have a ton of Astra Zeneca and in Spain they are giving that toe 65 and younger. 66> is Pfizer and Moderna and they have much less of those. So the 66-80 groups will take longer to get it due to supply issues. Many Northern European counties are flipping it and doing all >60 with the AZ vaccine and the <60’s will get the other vaccines. Its all so confusing. Jeff says we will close the gates on the farm behind us and wait yo see wait happens over the next few months. Congratulations Milito! 🎈

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  • I’m 60 and fully vaccinated. I did not get a choice but it was going to be either JnJ, Moderna or Pfizer. I would have taken any of them and actually hoped for JnJ as it was once and done. You continually rip on the Trump administration, and while I am no fan of former president Trump, his warp speed initiative was and continues to be very effective in getting a vaccine developed and out to the population. I’m grateful to have my vaccine and able to begin to move toward a “new normal” life surrounded by family and friends again. I feel for Europe and especially my beloved Spain as they struggle to get enough doses to the citizens.

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    • I am very happy for you. It must be such a relief after a year of bad Covid news every day. I do believe I gave the administration credit for funding vaccine development by the pharmaceutical companies and purchasing, well in advance of trials completion, the doses the US would need. I can’t speak to who should get credit for the very fast rollout there, in the past few months. But, frankly, I don’t care who is responsible. Just that its getting done and those I love and care about are safe, at last, after a year of this nightmare. I can’t wait to get back to normal. We heard today, if we keep getting shipments like the last 7 days, it’s likely October in Spain to hit 70% herd immunity. If that is the case, we will be on a flight to the US in June to get a non-AZ vaccine.

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  • Hi I’m getting my vaccine tomorrow in a local sports Hall that has been converted for the purpose and has been operating for more than a month in Torrent. They are not using the Health Centre here for vaccines. I’m getting AZ as have my family in the UK and am happy to get it. I think you have to make the best decision you can. I hope you get what you need without having to go back to the US for it xxx

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    • Its good to hear Torrent is doing something different. The mayor of Valencia in the paper today said he sees no reason not to direct people to the Health centers and will not open the mass vaccination station at the City of Arts and Sciences until later in the summer. If you’re older they are now moving faster. I think we fall under the line. But I hope you do well with the AZ vaccine. I just won’t take the chance. Not after the year we have had. A long flight just might be in our future after our move up North.

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      • Hi Kelli I didn´t mean to be anonymous. I´m very happy to be getting my jab tomorrow and hope all goes well for you in the near future. My friend decided not to go ahead with his vaccination for a different reason but that does mean its possible to reschedule here if you¨re not happy with their first offer. Its strange that the Major of Valencia is not going to use the facility they have already set up at Arts y Ciencias but chooses to fill health centres with more people. I´ll let you know how it goes and hope to see you before you leave xxx

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        • No worries, Donna. I knew it was you! I think everyone has to make the right decision for themselves and their circumstances. There may be people who think I’m overreacting. That the chances are slim on having a reaction. But the chances of getting Covid were actually small. A bad case, even smaller. Long term effects was decimal places to the right. But my luck this past year has not held up so I figure I should listen to the signs and go another way for myself. I am sure you will be fine. You are healthy and vibrant. A positive force in the world. We need you back in mix.

          The mayor said they will wait until they are doing 57,000 a day at health centers before he activates the mass vaccination center. It was in the local paper. We didn’t see anything set up when we were there 10 days ago but they may be building it now. Its supposed to take up the whole area in The City of Arts/Sciences.

          I am excited to hear your experience getting it and how it goes.

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