Authorities in the Madrid region of Spain said Wednesday they have suspended new vaccinations against the coronavirus for at least two weeks because of a shortage of jabs, while another region, Catalonia, warned its supply was running out, AFP reports.
Despite securing deals for vaccine supplies early on, many European Union countries are facing delays in shipments of both the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines, the only ones approved for use in the 27-nation bloc so far.
The deputy head of Madrid’s regional government, Ignacio Aguado, said the region was stopping new vaccinations so that existing stocks could be used for people waiting for their second dose.
“We don’t know what will happen after the following week, we hope the flow will return to normal and the number of doses arriving will increase,” he told a news conference.
In a tweet, Aguado said new vaccinations would be suspended for “at least the next two weeks” and urged Spain’s health ministry to “move heaven and earth” to procure more doses.
Ignacio Aguado (@ignacioaguado)
Hemos tenido que suspender el suministro de nuevas primeras dosis, al menos, durante las dos próximas semanas por falta de vacunas.
Le pido a la ministra Darias que mueva tierra, mar y aire para conseguir más. A este ritmo, en julio solo el 10% de los madrileños estará vacunado. pic.twitter.com/gDh7R2vSxw
He warned that, at the current pace of vaccination, only 10 percent of the population of the Madrid region will be inoculated by the end of July, short of the target of 70 percent set by Spain’s national government and by the EU.
Meanwhile, Catalonia’s public health chief Josep Argimon warned that the northeastern region will likely use up all of its 30,000 vaccine doses this week and its “refrigerators will be empty”.
Spain has administered just over 76 percent of the 1.73 million vaccines it received as part of the EU’s vaccination plan, according to health ministry figures.
Spain has been hard-hit by the pandemic, recording more than 57,000 deaths from nearly 2.7 million cases so far.