The swerve with AstraZeneca unleashes a political storm

Until now, the covid vaccination plan had been practically the only flank in the fight against the pandemic that had been saved from the political confrontation that had flooded other fields such as the purchase of material, confinements or restrictions on trade or the hospitality industry. But the swerve of Health Thursday when deciding that the prophylaxis of AstraZeneca which until now was reserved for those under 65 years of age has now been used exclusively for those over 60 has broken that implicit truce. And above all, it has plunged the political and technical leaders of the ministries into confusion, unable to explain themselves or explain to their own why the immunization plan is changed 180 degrees to veto AstraZeneca to the youngest if the European Medicines Agency (EMA) did not even suggest it and Health had always promised to follow the instructions of the European regulator closely.

The vaccination plan, for now, has already reached Congress. The PP registered today in the lower house a request to appear for Minister Carolina Darias to explain why this change of criteria. The leader of the ‘popular’ reproached the central Executive for hiding behind the autonomies and the EMA to avoid their responsibilities in this surprising change of course. «The sole responsibility for epidemics lies with the Government. It cannot be that when a shipment of vaccines arrives we put a sticker, we disappear for three months putting the responsibility on the communities and Europe, then we reappear to say that we are doing well, and when there are doubts about a vaccine the president goes to Angola without giving explanations “, said Pablo Casado.

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During the hasty Interterritorial Council of the National Health System on Wednesday night, only Madrid, with their vote against, and Euskadi and Ceuta, with their abstentions, openly raised objections to the decision of Health to change the entire vaccination strategy only two hours after listening to those responsible for the Pharmacovigilance Risk Assessment Committee (PRAC) of the EMA, but according to sources from the meeting, most of the ministries showed their “stupor” at the urgency of the decision to prohibit vaccination in minors than 60 without a more leisurely analysis and without deciding what to do with the more than two million people who have already received the first dose. And, above all, for showing this new criterion as an “uncontroversial” issue when the PRAC had stressed shortly before that it had not found evidence, in one sense or another, that age or other circumstances, such as gender or gender, medical history, were a risk factor in rare strokes. In fact, in all of Europe only Belgium and Italy, along with Spain, were quick to radically change their immunization plan.

Ayuso, very critical

Madrid, this Thursday with a hangover after Wednesday’s marathon day, was once again the most critical community, but by no means the only one. «The government thing is nonsense. You can’t constantly hit the jackpot. We have always defended that all people over 65 be vaccinated because the benefit is much greater than the risk. You cannot now change your criteria in the middle of the game. In that Interterritorial Council, the criteria are constantly changed ”, denounced Isabel Díaz Ayuso. His Health Minister, Enrique Ruiz Escudero, expressed this Thursday in public what many other community officials, and not only the PP, are saying in the last: “There is a regulator like the EMA that decides what the criteria are. It cannot be that with a verbal report (of Health) we decide that it is not possible to vaccinate those under 60. We cannot be permanently confusing, “he lamented.

Communities such as Catalonia or Andalusia, which even voted in favor of the swerve, today criticized the change without ambiguity. The Regional Minister of Health of the Generalitat, Alba Vergés, denounced the “coming and going” of the central government, while the president of the Board, Juan Moreno, complained that the central executive is limiting itself to being a mere “transporter of vaccines »In the midst of a panorama of« uncoordination ».

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