Spain has said it is setting up a registry of people who refuse to be vaccinated against Covid-19 and will share it with other EU countries, reports the BBC. The list will not be available to the public or to employers.
Health minister Salvador Illa said “The way to defeat the virus is to vaccinate all of us – the more the better.”
Spain has been one of the European countries worst affected by the virus and is currently rolling out the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, approved for EU member states last week.
Illa told La Sexta television on Monday that vaccination would not be mandatory. “People who are offered a therapy that they refuse for any reason, it will be noted in the register so that there is no error in the system, not to have given this person the possibility of being vaccinated.”
According to a recent poll, the number of Spanish citizens who have said they will not take the vaccine has fallen to 28% from 47% in November.
Illa said people would be contacted by regional authorities when it was their turn to be inoculated.
“People who decide not to get vaccinated, which we think is a mistake, are within their rights,” he told reporters. “We are going to try to solve doubts. Getting vaccinated saves lives; it is the way out of this pandemic.”
The number of people who have died from Covid-19 in Spain rose to above 50,000 on Monday. The country has registered more than 1.8 million infections during the pandemic.
Spain is currently under a nationwide curfew, between 11pm and 6am, until early May. People are only allowed out in that period to go to work, buy medicine, or to care for elderly people or children.