Read in Catalan

Faced with falling numbers of vaccination appointments in recent weeks and an increase in people failing to show at their prescribed time, the Catalan health department has literally opened the doors this Tuesday, offering vaccinations without appointment for all ages from 12 upwards in August at a large number of centres around Catalonia. Precise hours for walk-in vaccinations vary from centre to centre and should be consulted, but many of the larger centres are open on afternoons from 4pm to 8pm.  

For the vaccination points designated by CatSalut this Tuesday as offering this service - there are over 50 - the information states that they are for first jabs, however CatSalut has announced that second doses will also be made available as part of this no-appointment service.

Although the walk-in aspect is one of the attractions of this new strategy, appointments can still be made, and indeed are recommended: to contribute "to the proper functioning and organization of these points, as it is a very complex task, it is recommended that users request an appointment via internet".

The new Catalan health strategy aims to make pave the way for a smoother return to schools, universities and jobs in September by ensuing that vaccinations coverage is as complete as possible by that time. In Catalonia at present over 76% of the population have received a first vaccine jab while almost 60% are fully vaccinated. The fifth wave of the coronavirus continues in full effect in Catalonia, with hospital and, especially, intensive care admissions still at maximum levels, although numbers of new cases are dropping.

That second shot is necessary

The arrival of summer is leaving slowing down the vaccination campaign. On August 2nd, the head of Epidemiology at Vall d'Hebron Hospital, Magda Campins, warned of a rise in people scheduled to receive their second dose of the vaccine who were not showing up for their appointments.

At that time Campins already commented that the Health department was trying to redistribute its vaccine stock to make it easier for people who have an appointment but are not at their usual place of residence - due typically to holidays - to go to a vaccination centre closer to where they are spending their summer break. “There are probably people who had to start their vaccination process now, but have planned to be away from home, haven't started it and they are leaving it until September,” she affirmed. "Not all of those with appointments are coming, there's always a certain percentage of people who are not receiving the second dose."

Holidays are a key moment in the year for many people, but not sufficient reason to abandon efforts to get vaccinated during a global pandemic. The Catalan public health secretary, Carmen Cabezas, has frequently reminded the public of the need to be both jabs. “Vaccination requires two doses, 3 or 4 weeks apart. If the person starts now, the vaccine will have taken effect in September and that will give protection before the start of the school year or the return to work. The best time is now", stated Cabezas.


Main image: A woman receives her vaccine dose at La Farga de l'Hospitalet / Sergi Alcàzar