Madrid fears Delta variant, brings forward shot for over-60s

Region reschedules second dose of AstraZeneca

11 June, 16:45

    MADRID - Health authorities of the Madrid region have expressed concern for an increase in Covid cases caused by new variants of coronavirus, in particular one that was initially identified in India (renamed "Delta" and technically known as B.1.617.2).

    In a press conference, deputy health councilor Antonio Zapatero said the situation is "serious": over the past week, 18 cases of this variant were identified, of which already "community transmission" has been observed, he said. Zapatero added that the "growing" presence of the Delta variant could make it predominant "over the next weeks".

    One of the measures announced by the region of Madrid to deal with the situation is to bring forward the administration of the second shot of the AstraZeneca vaccine in people over 60.

    Initially, the second dose was scheduled 12 weeks after the first while now it has been moved up by a week, Spanish media reported.

    According to Zapatero, the reason for the spread of the variant is the lack of "effective" controls by the central government on passengers arriving at the airport of Madrid.

    On the other hand, the number of infections in the region continues to decrease, said Zapatero: new cases have decreased by 28% over the past week and by 14% in the last two weeks, he said.

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