Spain will use registry to document citizens who refuse COVID-19 vaccines

Spain intends to use the registry at a local level and will also share the document with other EU member states, however, the information will not be made public.

A couple wearing face masks enjoy the sunny weather at Barceloneta beach, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Barcelona, Spain, May 22, 2020 (photo credit: REUTERS/NACHO DOCE)
A couple wearing face masks enjoy the sunny weather at Barceloneta beach, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Barcelona, Spain, May 22, 2020
(photo credit: REUTERS/NACHO DOCE)
Those in Spain who refuse to get vaccinated against the novel coronavirus are set to end up in a registry, Spanish Health Minister Salvador Illa said on Monday.
Spain intends to use the registry at a local level and will share the document with other EU member states. The information will not be made available to the public.
"What will be done is a registry, which will be shared with our European partners... of those people who have been offered it and have simply rejected it," Illa said, according to AFP. "It is not a document which will be made public and it will be done with the utmost respect for data protection."
The number of Spaniards willing to receive the COVID-19 vaccine as soon as they become available rose to more than 40% in the latest official poll published last week, from 37% in a previous survey a month ago.
While 28% of respondents in the survey by the Center for Sociological Studies (CIS) said they would not take the vaccine immediately, that was a sharp drop from 47% in a previous CIS poll published on November 18 that asked the same question.
Following a new increase in infections over the past two weeks, another 16.2% of survey respondents said they would be willing to be vaccinated if the shot "has guarantees, if it is tested, if it is reliable."
The survey was carried out on December 1-9 among 3,800 people.
"People who are offered a therapy that they refuse for any reason, it will be noted in the register... that there is no error in the system, not to have given this person the possibility of being vaccinated," Illa said, according to the BBC.
"People who decide not to get vaccinated, which we think is a mistake, are within their rights," Illa added. "We are going to try to solve doubts. Getting vaccinated saves lives, it is the way out of this pandemic."
Spain has been among the European countries hit the hardest by the pandemic. The infection rate measured over the past 14 days rose to 224 per 100,000 on Monday, from 214 on Friday.
A further 22,013 new cases were identified over the weekend and 334 more people died, the Health Ministry said.
"We expect the trend to rise in the coming days and that should worry us," Health Secretary Silvia Calzon told a news conference.
She said Spain would administer its first vaccinations in nursing homes.
"The way to defeat the virus is to vaccinate all of us or the more the better," Illa said, according to AFP.
The EU drug regulator on Monday gave approval for the vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech after it was authorized in several countries.
A voluntary vaccination campaign was launched on December 27 and is intended to cover up to 20 million people by May or June 2021.

Zachary Keyser and Reuters contributed to this report.