MADRID, April 19 (Reuters) - Spain's Health Ministry is considering delaying second doses of COVID-19 vaccines for under 80 year olds to maximise the number of people who have received at least one injection, El Mundo newspaper reported on Monday, citing an official document.
Under the proposal, patients would receive a second shot of vaccines produced by Pfizer and Moderna eight weeks after the first, rather than the prescribed three-week interval, El Mundo said.
If approved, the proposal would signal a sharp departure from the current national strategy, which favours giving vulnerable age groups a full course of two shots as quickly as possible.
The Health Ministry was not immediately available for comment.
Countries such as Israel and Britain, which have opted to provide a wider cross-section of the population with at least one shot to reach herd immunity faster, have reported largely positive results.
Despite delays to the deployment of the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine and supply disruptions to the AstraZeneca's one, Spain still expects to have half its 47-million population fully inoculated by late July.
Data released on Friday showed 7% of the population had received a full course, while 19% had received at least one dose.
Health minister Carolina Darias said on Monday the country would receive 1.7 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine a week from April 26. (Reporting by Nathan Allen and Inti Landauro Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky)
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