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Delivery problems with Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine slow Spain's vaccination

(Xinhua)    11:55, January 04, 2021

MADRID, Jan. 3 (Xinhua) -- Vaccination against COVID-19 for care home residents in the northeastern autonomous community of Catalonia is slower than expected due to delivery problems with Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, the region's health department said Sunday.

Logistical problems, holidays and lack of sufficient refrigerators to maintain the temperature of the vaccine are among the main factors behind the problem, the health department said in a statement.

In the seven days since Spain began its vaccination program on Dec. 27, 2020, only 12.9 percent of the 60,000 doses of vaccines provided by Pfizer-BioNTech to Catalonia has been administered.

The health department said it lacks the necessary number of refrigerators to transport the vaccines at the required temperature of minus 70 degrees centigrade because "many were trapped in the Calais tunnel during the border closure with Britain" days before the new year.

There are also problems of obtaining the necessary consent from family members to vaccinate elderly residents in communities, it said, adding that getting the necessary permission from their relatives and guardians has slowed procedures.

Catalonia is not the only region in Spain that has got its vaccination program off to a slow start.

In the first week of vaccination, only 3,090 people in the autonomous community of Madrid received the first of the two necessary injections, accounting for only 6 percent of the 48,750 doses of vaccines delivered to the region since Dec. 27, 2020, the Sunday edition of a local newspaper El Pais reported.

Spain, one of the countries most affected by COVID-19, has so far recorded 1,928,265 cases with 50,837 deaths.

As the world is struggling to contain the pandemic, vaccination is underway in some countries with the already-authorized coronavirus vaccines.

Meanwhile, 232 COVID-19 candidate vaccines are being developed worldwide, with 60 of them under clinical trials, according to information released by the World Health Organization on Dec. 29, 2020.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Wen Ying, Liang Jun)

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