The Government has authorized the vaccination of the players and the coaching staff of the Spanish team. The Ministry of Health has accepted the measure five days after the debut of La Roja against Sweden in the Eurocup and after the positives for coronavirus of two of the 24 footballers cited by Luis Enrique for the European Championship were confirmed: Sergio Busquets and Diego Llorente. Inoculation will be done through the ArmyDue to this action, it is outside the established groups, and it will be done “very soon.” However, experts consulted by this newspaper warn that this strategy is late since vaccines do not grant immunity immediately. Vaccines take time to work. If they are going to receive a regimen of two vaccines, the protection begins to take effect 10-14 days after the second dose, ”explains Quique Bassat, epidemiologist at ISGlobal Barcelona.
The coronavirus has entered the Ciudad del Fútbol de Las Rozas, Spain’s gathering place for the Eurocup. On Sunday the positive of Busquets was known, and at the end of this Tuesday that of Diego Llorente. Since it was learned that the Barcelona midfielder, one of the pillars of Luis Enrique’s group, had contracted the virus, they began to talk about the need to vaccinate the members of La Roja. The Public Health Commission ignored the matter on Tuesday. And, finally, it was this Wednesday when the Ministry of Health gave the green light to this process that the Army will carry out, despite the reluctance expressed by various political groups; they did not consider the inoculation of soccer players a priority. And others, like Alberto Núñez Feijóo, president of the Xunta, reproach that it is carried out late. “Has no sense. It should have been done much earlier.
And that, in principle, the option to immunize La Roja was never on the table, until the positive of Busquets. Then, the Minister of Culture and Sports, José Manuel Rodríguez Uribes, summoned his counterpart from Health, Carolina Darias, to take this step, as has been done with around a thousand athletes who will attend the Games on behalf of Spain from Tokyo. And it was this Wednesday that the go-ahead was given for a process that will begin shortly, a few days after La Roja faces Sweden in Seville and with a group of 17 players training in parallel just in case the number of contagions increases considerably. Anyway, Luis Enrique has until Saturday at nine o’clock at night to set up his final call, and the Federation monitors the situation every day, with a PCR test on the footballers, who will finally be vaccinated in a strategy defended this Wednesday by the Minister of Transport, Mobility and Urban Agenda, José Luis Ábalos. “There have been groups that have not had to wait for age and in this case we are talking about the Spanish team that represents us all and that we want them to be in a position to compete.”
In fact, one of the arguments used to justify this step has been the risk of possible expulsion from Spain in the event of an outbreak. However, experts consulted by this newspaper, and the Ministry of Health itself in an information published on its website in March, recall that the protection of the vaccine is not immediate. And less in the case of La Roja that, a priori, will be vaccinated with Pzifer, which requires two doses, the second 21 days after the first. And when is the barrier against the virus built? Seven days after the second inoculation, that is, within a month, when the tournament is close to the final. “They would not be immunized for the Eurocup,” says Bassat forcefully.
It is true, admits this epidemiologist, that a first puncture does generate some immunity, but it takes about ‘fifteen days’ for this effect to occur. “Yes, there is a difference between people who have received a dose over those who have not received any, but fifteen days have to pass.” That is, Spain would play the group stage without this extra protection, since Wednesday 23 is when they face Slovakia to close this first part of the continental tournament. At the moment, the vaccination will take place, but that does not imply that the alarms that have been lit after the positives of Busquets and Diego Llorente are turned off.
– And is it possible that if they are vaccinated this Wednesday or Thursday, they may feel any adverse consequences in Monday’s game against Sweden?
Bassat understands that no. “Each one expresses their discomfort in a different way. And the symptoms are usually the first 24 hours. It is a very minimal risk ”, explains this expert.