Although Spain will not require citizens to take the COVID vaccine, a registry will be compiled listing those who have refused, Spain’s Health Minister Salvador Illa told La Sexta television on Monday.
Illa revealed that the registry of those who have been offered the vaccine, but refused it, will be “shared with our European partners.” The health minister promised that the registry will not be made public and the distribution will be “done with the utmost respect for data protection.”
This announcement comes as Spain has one of the highest number of cases and deaths per capita. Almost 1.9 million cases have been confirmed and over 50,000 deaths have been recorded, according to Johns Hopkins University data.
“The way to defeat the virus is by vaccinating all of us,” said Illa.
However, the World Health Organization’s chief scientist Dr. Soumya Swaminathan appeared to undermine this claim during a recent virtual press conference.
“I don’t believe we have the evidence on any of the vaccines to be confident that it’s going to prevent people from actually getting the infection and therefore being able to pass it on,” she said.
“We need to assume that people who have been vaccinated also need to take the same precautions till there’s a certain level of herd immunity,” Swaminathan continued. “This is a dynamic in an evolving field.”
Director of WHO’s Health Emergencies Dr Mike Ryan confirmed this when he stated, “The existence of a vaccine, even at a high efficacy, there’s no guarantee of eliminating or eradicating an infectious disease, that is a very high bar for us to be able to get over.”
Illa’s announcement comes on the heels of multiple airlines, corporations and medical companies working together to develop “vaccine passports” that could potentially be required for travel or entry to large events.
Dr. Julie Parsonnet, an infectious disease specialist at Stanford University told CNN Business that “we still don’t know if vaccinated people can transmit infection or not. Until that is clarified, we won’t know whether ‘passports’ will be effective.”