Local Daily News 15th November

The 76,873 people in Alicante vaccinated with Janssen will be able to make an appointment starting today to receive the booster dose

People immunized with the Janssen vaccine in the Valencian Community may request an appointment at health centers to receive a booster dose, to optimize protection against the coronavirus, starting today, Monday the 15th of November.

In total, 210,886 people received the Janssen vaccine in the Valencian Community. By provinces, there are 76,873 in Alicante, 36,866 in Castellón and 97,147 in Valencia. The booster dose will be given at least three months after receiving the Janssen vaccine. In addition, it may be given simultaneously with the flu vaccine, as long as the person meets the requirements to also receive the flu vaccine.

The administration of this additional dose of the coronavirus vaccine will be done in Primary Care. Those interested may request an appointment by calling or going to their health center, through the GVA+Salut app or through the Health website. 

The importance of making an appointment is something that the Minister of Health, Ana Barceló, has highlighted. “With the prior appointment we can schedule the vaccination in the centers, avoid crowds and facilitate the vaccine being given alongside another vaccine, such as influenza.”

In this sense, the regional head of Health recalled that “we continue to vaccinate all those who do not have their full course. 10% of the population has not yet been protected and it is essential that coverage continue to increase; for themselves, the people close to them and for all of us”, said Ana Barceló.

Likewise, the Public Health Commission of the Interterritorial Council of the National Health System agreed on the 26th of October to incorporate a booster dose with the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines to those people who had been immunized with Janssen. This recommendation was added to that of also administering a booster dose from the age of 70, to people in risk groups and residents in nursing homes.

The groups for which the flu vaccine is indicated are: people 65 years of age or older, who may suffer complications derived from the flu or those who can transmit it to people at high risk of complications, institutionalized people, pregnant women and workers of essential public services.

Regarding the vaccination of the booster dose against covid-19, in the Valencian Community a total of 332,301 people have received this dose. So far, it has already been administered to 279,275 people over 70 years of age. Currently, the booster dose is also being administered to the population with high risk (of which 33,170 have already been vaccinated) and people living in nursing homes (19,856 people).

The Minister of Health has insisted on the importance of vaccinating those who have not yet been immunized, and she recalled that the Ministry maintains different strategies to continue vaccinating both in health centers and mobile points.

As part of these efforts, on Friday the 26th of November, the Ministry of Health will install, with the occasion of Black Friday, a mobile vaccination point on Xàtiva de València street, in front of the bullring, for those who for any reason have not yet received their immunization against the coronavirus.

The vaccination point will be located in a central area of ​​the city full of shops where a high influx of public is expected. All this with the aim of bringing and facilitating vaccination to the population with the ultimate objective of expanding vaccination coverage against the coronavirus.

This initiative joins those already deployed by the Ministry of Health in other areas such as Benidorm, a city in which the mobile immunization device was installed during this week in the L’Hort de Colón Museum, on Tomas Ortuño street, coinciding with the management holidays.

It should be remembered that this point will be transferred on Tuesday to the Foreign Tourist Service, in the Rincón de Loix, also from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., and will remain open depending on the demand.

To these initiatives are added the points open this weekend in Alicante, Elche and Castellón in large commercial areas, as well as other measures implemented after the completion of the mass vaccination in the 133 points distributed by the Valencian Community: immunization at festivals of music such as Les Arts de Valencia, sporting events (Martínez Valero, Mestalla, Ciutat de València or La Cerámica stadiums on the occasion of League matches) or on campuses in collaboration with the universities of the Community.

Pedro Sánchez announces that Benidorm will be the headquarters of the Smart Platform for Tourist Destinations

Benidorm will be the headquarters of the Smart Platform for Tourist Destinations promoted by the Government, as announced this Sunday by the President, Pedro Sánchez, along with the President of the Generalitat, Ximo Puig, after meeting this Sunday with businessmen from the tourism sector in the main tourist town in the province. Sources close to the meeting have explained that it will involve an investment of more than 130 million euros, which will be used to develop smart tourism programs for the entire Spanish sector, making Benidorm and Alicante a benchmark for all of Spain in the application of new tourism technologies.

The Smart Platform for Tourist Destinations is a tool that will combine public and private data, with the aim of digitally connecting destinations, tourists and companies, as well as improving the competitiveness of the sector. The Data Space, as it will be called, will be located in Benidorm. The Valencian Community will receive data from all over Spain and this center will be a point of reference for the new policy based on digitization, transparency and sustainability, according to the same sources.

The headquarters for the technical team will be the facilities of the Valencian Institute of Tourism Research (Invattur). In addition, the platform is already planned to promote the development of new data-based services for tourists, as well as making it possible to increase the sustainability of tourist destinations, and personalize the offer to tourists. With this announcement, Pedro Sánchez recognises Ximo Puig, who had asked the Government that this body be based in Benidorm because it is the main tourist city in all of Spain, within the framework of necessary decentralization of the State Administration.

Businesses in the catering industry, large companies and events in the province begin to ask for the covid passport

It is a mandatory requirement to enter many countries, especially within the European Union. In Spain, the covid passport has not been widely implemented, although in the province it is timidly beginning to be a mandatory requirement in some areas. This is the case of concert halls, where it is already being requested upon entry. “It is a way of being able to recover our identity, that people can have freedom of movement within the space”, explains Fran Bordonado, president of the Valencian Association of Private Live Music Rooms.

The Ministry of Health offers advantages to bars or concert organizers who request the covid passport to enter. Among these advantages, the possibility of people eating or drinking while dancing, which is forbidden if the vaccination certificate is not required. “In this way we can have the capacity at 70% of the real capacity. If we had to install tables and chairs so that people could be seated at the concert, the capacity would be reduced to 30%,” explains Boronano. At least three rooms in the region of l’Alacantí are asking for the vaccination certificate “without the clients making any kind of objection. Only in the first days were there doubts about the certificate. There were people who came with the card they were given the day they were vaccinated, and that is not valid. But with the mobile, in a few minutes the certificate can be obtained,” adds Boronado.

In the Valencian Community, almost two million covid certificates have been downloaded, according to data from the Ministry of Health. Most of them are for having received the complete vaccination course, since there are two more modalities: for providing proof of a negative test for the disease or a certificate of recovery that proves that the person had disease less than 180 days ago.

However, the covid certificate has not caught on among restaurants and pubs, despite the fact that it was these businesses who requested the use of it in May in order to reduce the impact of the restrictions. “Back then we asked for it, but always with the protection of the administration, who must regulate it,” says Lalo Díez, president of the Valencian Community Leisure and Hospitality Business Coordination. In this sense, Díez argues, demanding people be vaccinated to enter bars and restaurants “is not regulated by the right of admission.”

Along the same lines, César Anca, president of the Alicante Restaurant Association, explains that the right of admission “serves to regulate the access of people who can cause public order problems or annoy other customers, but it cannot be applied to any situation because that can create problems.”

This is a position that coincides with that of the experts in Constitutional Law, such as Concepción Torres, professor at the University of Alicante. “It is necessary that there is a rule that covers this limitation to be able to access a place if one is not vaccinated, especially when in Spain there is no obligation to be vaccinated,” says Torres. 

For Manuel Alcaraz, professor of Constitutional Law, without a rule that acts as an umbrella, it is very difficult for bars, pubs or restaurants to be able to demand the vaccination certificate so that clients can access them. “The right of admission based on the assumption that someone is sick and can infect is complex to apply,” believes Alcaraz, for whom there is also a danger that certain establishments may use it as an excuse to prevent the entry of some groups of people.

For Alcaraz, the best option would be an agreement between all the autonomous communities to develop a rule on the use of the covid passport, “although we already know that there will be autonomies that are going to oppose it.” The alternative “would be a state law that is later modulated with specific norms” or that each autonomous community develops its own regulation, “although later they will have to be subject to what the judges determine.”

The covid passport came into force on the 1st of July and more and more countries in Europe have extended its use to access shops, bars, restaurants or to go to the movies. This is the case in France, some parts of Belgium and Germany.

In Spain its use is not widespread. There are autonomies that do require it to access nightlife, such as Catalonia or Galicia. As already happened with the curfew and other restrictive measures, the implementation of the covid passport has been seen to have discrepancies between higher courts of justice of different autonomies and the Constitutional Court itself.

Experts in Preventive Medicine believe that the use of the covid passport should be extended in Spain to many more activities, especially those that take place inside establishments, as is done in other European countries. In this way, the vaccination of people between 20 and 40 years of age would be encouraged. “Individual initiatives are being carried out, such as vaccinating in shopping centers, which do not seem to really increase the number of vaccinated,” says Juan Francisco Navarro, president of the Valencian Society of Preventive Medicine.

For Navarro, something that would be effective for this population to agree to be immunized “is to make it really uncomfortable to be unvaccinated.” Navarro warns that we are on the verge of a “mini-pandemic” that in Spain will focus on the 4.7 million people who are not vaccinated. And although a hospital collapse is not foreseeable, this specialist reminds that the health system will already suffer only because of the enormous work of diagnosing people with symptoms, especially when we are on the threshold of the flu season, which is expected to be more virulent this year.

Since the 1st of July, the covid passport has been valid. Obtaining the document can be done through three different ways: being vaccinated with the full schedule, having had the disease in the last 180 days or having a recent diagnostic test that is approved by the European Union. The document is completely free and can be requested by all citizens of a state attached to the initiative to create the certificate, that is, the 27 of the European Union plus Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein. It is possible to obtain and download the certificate on the mobile device for all citizens from the health application of the corresponding autonomy, in the case of the Valencian Community on the web www.san.gva.es or from the electronic headquarters of the Ministry of Health. To have the covid passport, it is best to download it in PDF format from the mobile phone and save it on the device or print it to have it in physical format if desired.

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