Spain will manufacture four of the existing Covid-19 vaccines on home soil, a move government officials believe will speed up the country’s inoculation campaign.
“Spain will have at least four pharmaceutical plants to produce coronavirus vaccines,” Spain’s Secretary General for Industry and SMEs Raúl Blanco announced on Monday.
Spanish pharma company Rovi has already started producing the Moderna vaccine in Spain but other pharmaceutical companies will now join the factory line.
Insud Pharma will manufacture AstraZeneca’s vaccine vials, Reig Jofre will produce the Janssen vaccine and Biofabri will carry out the industrial production of the Novavax vaccine.
Spain’s Industry, Commerce and Tourism Minister Reyes Maroto echoed Blanco’s words, adding that the government is now looking to close a fifth deal with another pharmaceutical plant.
“This will accelerate the distribution of these vaccines in Spain and we are working so that there are more, as Spain is very well positioned in EU terms to both produce the active principles (of the vaccines) and to bottle and store the medicine,” Maroto said.
“It’s good news,” Blanco concluded about the fact that Spain would gain greater autonomy in terms of vaccine availability and easier distribution, whilst also stressing that it was key that the EU maintained “industrial sovereignty”.
The official announcement came just hours before Moderna said it would reduce the number of Covid-19 vaccines it sends Spain, giving problems on the production line as a reason.
It’s a decision which is likely to have an impact on the Spanish Health Ministry’s vaccination plans as just this week it will halve the expected 483,000 vaccine doses that were scheduled for delivery.
Holdups from abroad have been one of the recurring setbacks Spain has faced since it began its vaccination campaign in late December, although the painstakingly slow rollout seen over the Christmas period has been largely resolved now.
However, US ratings agency Standard and Poor’s on Saturday warned that if Spain didn’t speed up its vaccine campaign, the chances of being able to rescue its ailing economy through a successful summer tourism season would fade away.
As of February 16, 2.26 percent of people in Spain have received the two required doses of the Covid-19 vaccine.
Source: The Local