The Minister of Defense, Margarita Robles, has asked the Chief of the Defense Staff (Jemad), General Miguel Ángel Villarroya, for explanations, after publishing that he and other generals of the Defense General Staff have already been vaccinated against COVID-19. 19. Robles has assured that he was unaware of the vaccination plan of the Defense General Staff, for which he has demanded a report from the head of the military leadership that he hopes to receive this Friday. The minister has not wanted to advance if she will take any action: “Depending on what the report says, we will see.”
Sources from the Defense General Staff confirm that, as the Confidential Digital, Villarroya and other generals in the chain of command of the Armed Forces (such as the chief of the Joint Chiefs of Staff or the Chief of Operations Command) have already received the first dose of the vaccine from Pfizer-BioNtech. The Defense vaccination plan ordered to administer it, in the first place, to military health personnel; and then to the troops that must be deployed on international missions. This is the reason why the crew of the amphibious assault ship were vaccinated in recent weeks Castile and the mine hunter Block, due to set sail in the next few weeks.
Only in third place should the military who occupy strategic positions, difficult to replace, be vaccinated. However, sources from the Defense General Staff explained that it received a dose quota and that, once the scarce medical personnel that depends on said organization and the military that must soon join international missions had been covered, it was passed to the third group , made up of those responsible for the operational chain of command. Within this group, they added, the generals were prioritized “for being the oldest.” According to the same sources, vaccination in the Defense Staff did not have to follow the same pace as in the rest of the Armed Forces or in society as a whole.
The news has caused discomfort among many military personnel and also in the Ministry of Defense itself, by giving the image that the generals are privileged and not the personnel who are more exposed to contracting the disease. In addition, it occurs in full controversy over the irregular vaccinations of mayors and regional councilors, such as those of Murcia or Ceuta, who skipped their turn and were vaccinated earlier than their due.
Robles stressed that the vaccination plan of the Ministry of Defense is coordinated with that of Health and that no one has been vaccinated in the central body of the department. In the two military hospitals, Gómez Ulla and Zaragoza, the health protocol of the autonomous communities of Madrid and Aragón is followed, so that in the first the vaccination of health personnel has been suspended, in response to the decision of the regional government.
When EL PAÍS published last Monday that it was vaccinating the military who were leaving on an international mission, Defesa sources assured that their immunization plan, with a “reduced quota” of vaccines that Health has provided, was in line with the general criteria and only departed from it in “exceptional cases.”
The vaccination of the head of the military leadership and of senior military officials has been severely criticized by some government allies, who have demanded responsibility. The secretary general of the PCE and deputy Enrique Santiago has written on Twitter: “If it is true that the Jemad (state secrary) has been vaccinated, he must resign or be dismissed by the president.”
Without citing anyone, the spokesman for United We Can in Congress, Pablo Echenique, has tweeted: “The scoundrels who have been vaccinated by skipping the queue from the privilege of being public office (more appear every day) of course must resign from all their charges, since then they cannot receive the second dose and may have committed crimes of embezzlement and / or prevarication ”.
For his part, Bildu deputy Jon Iñarritu has wondered if the high command who have been vaccinated will resign and if the King has also done so, as captain general of the armies.