The Catalan High Court (TSJC) has given a maximum period of 10 days to Catalonia's government to resume Covid-19 vaccination of members of the Spanish National Police and the Civil Guard stationed in Catalonia and reach "the same proportion" of officers vaccinated as has been reached in the vaccination of the Catalan autonomous police force, the Mossos d'Esquadra. Catalan public health secretary Josep Maria Argimon said that the vaccination plan would now have to "adapt to the judicial criteria as well", adding that he might ask the judge for advice on which vaccine should be given to the police officers, and noting that the court order will cause a delay in the vaccination of 70-79 year olds in Catalonia.
The court took this action in response to a request for interim measures demanded by two police unions, JUPOL and JUCIL, for the Catalan ministry of health to include officers of these two Spanish security bodies in the Catalonia vaccination plan, the court explained. The administrative disputes chamber of the court which heard the matter also orders that, two days after the end of the 10-day period, the Catalan health ministry must send it a report on compliance with this measure.
The public prosecutors urged the court today to support the request for interim measures by the two police unions to force the Catalan Government to resume coronavirus vaccination of Spanish National police and Civil Guards assigned in Catalonia.
The prosecutor's report considers that the request for interim measures to resume vaccination is "fully justified." On April 8th, JUPOL and JUCIL appealed the Catalan government's resolution annulling the vaccination of the agents of the two Spanish security bodies without setting a new date. The prosecutors allege that that is a violation of the right to equality and non-discrimination, since other emergency services were still being vaccinated.
According to the unions who are part of the appeal, the Catalan health authorities are "in violation in Catalonia of the National Vaccination Plan against Covid-19, applying it only to regional and local police officers and other security forces, and excluding or omitting" officers of the National Police corps and the Civil Guard.
Earlier, on April 20th, the court refused to take interim measures with extraordinary urgency, and asked the parties to make submission on interim measures with a less-drastic "urgency" called for by the unions with reports such as this one from the prosecutors. "It is obvious that, if the alleged facts are true, a clear and unjustified situation of discrimination by the administration took place - or is taking place - in addition to a clear failure to comply with regulations" of these police forces, state the prosecutors in their report.
"I will ask the judge what vaccine to use"
Catalan public health secretary Josep Maria Argimon, when asked about the court decision this afternoon, gave a clear response. "Now, we also have to adapt to judicial criteria. The judicial criterion of reaching the same coverage [for Spanish police bodies] as for the Mossos is ridiculous, I will not describe it as anything else," he said. "I will ask the judge what vaccine I should do it with. The person who has politicized this should resolve it," he remarked.
In answer to another question, he stressed that this decision will have consequences. Basically it will mean, he said, that the vaccination of people in the 70-79 age group will be delayed.
Vaccination of members of these Spanish police bodies in Catalonia began in March using the AstraZeneca jab. It was suspended when reports began to emerge of rare cases of thrombosis in those receiving this jab. The use of AstraZeneca is no longer permitted in Spain for those under 60 years old and vaccination plans have had to be adjusted.