Spain is setting up a registry of people who refuse to have a COVID-19 vaccine — and will share it with its European neighbors.
Health Minister Salvador Illa made the announcement Monday even as he insisted vaccination — which was rolled out there over the weekend — is not mandatory, Agence France-Presse (AFP) said.
“What will be done is a registry, which will be shared with our European partners… of those people who have been offered it and have simply rejected it,” Illa told La Sexta television, according to the agency.
“It is not a document which will be made public and it will be done with the utmost respect for data protection,” he insisted.
The main aim was to help track those who are vaccinated against COVID-19 cases, as well as work out why people are not getting the shot, a source told The Guardian.
The initiative could also help Spain regain trust in its tourism sector, which was linked to earlier spreading of the coronavirus, Bloomberg News said.
A health worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a nursing home in Barbastro, Spain, on Sunday.Alvaro Calvo/Government of Aragon via Getty Images
Spain has been one of Europe’s worst-hit countries by the pandemic, with by Tuesday almost 1.9 million confirmed cases and more than 50,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data.