MADRID (Reuters) – Spain will give a single vaccine dose to under 55-year-olds who have already been infected with COVID-19, the Health Ministry announced on Friday in the latest update of its national inoculation strategy.
“The duration of protective immunity to the virus after natural infection is unknown but studies show that administering a single dose to these individuals boosts protective immunity,” the strategy update read.
France announced a similar policy earlier this month while Italian politicians are debating whether to follow that path.
Spain had already advised that people within that bracket who have no major health complications wait six months from their diagnosis before taking a vaccine.
As of Thursday, some 2.2 million people from priority groups such as nursing home residents and staff, people over 80 and frontline medics had received an injection. Some 1.2 million of those had received a full course of two shots.
Just over 2% of Spaniards offered a vaccination have refused, including people who declined for medical reasons.
After an intense third wave of infection, Spain’s two-week incidence of the virus fell to 194 cases per 100,000 people on Friday, down from almost 900 cases at the end of January.
The infection tally rose by 8,341 cases on Friday to 3.19 million, while the death toll climbed by 329 to 69,142.
(Reporting by Nathan Allen; Additional reporting by Alistair Smout and Jessica Jones; Editing by Inti Landauro, Jonathan Oatis and Richard Chang)