"What will be done is a registry … [to] be shared with our European partners … of those people who have been offered [the COVID-19 vaccine] and have simply rejected it," Illa said. The health minister also noted that the list "is not a document which will be made public" and the data in it will be "treated with the utmost respect for data protection."
Illa mentioned that the list was aimed at ensuring that there were no errors in the system and that any person gets the opportunity to be immunized against COVID-19.
"The way to defeat the virus is to vaccinate all of us, or the more the better," he added. Spanish citizens receive the COVID-19 vaccine on a voluntary basis.
Spanish authorities later clarified to Deutsche Presse-Agentur that the register of people who rejected the COVID-19 vaccine was only meant to collect clinical data. Only those who showed up for immunization and then rejected it would be registered in the list, the Spanish authorities added. (Related: Vaccine industry pushing state laws to TRACK your "vaccine status" with pharma surveillance tactics – urgent action needed.)
The health minister's announcement came amid mass COVID-19 vaccinations in the country. Ninety-six-year-old Guadalajara nursing home resident Araceli Hidalgo was the first person in the country to receive the coronavirus jab Dec. 27. A 48-year-old worker at the nursing home where Hidalgo lived was the second person to be inoculated.
Up to 20 million Spaniards are expected to receive the coronavirus jabs by June 2021, less than half of the country's 47 million total population.
According to a poll by the Belgian state-funded Centre for Sociological Research, the number of respondents hesitant to take a COVID-19 vaccine dropped to 28 percent in December 2020 from 47 percent the previous month. The same poll also found that 40.5 percent of respondents were willing to have the vaccine. Meanwhile, 16.2 percent of respondents would avail of the vaccine if it is shown to be reliable.
Spain offers the COVID-19 vaccines for free as of writing, with the Spanish health service contacting those eligible to receive the first dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine approved by the European Medicines Agency.
Spain's neighbors in the European Union have also put forward similar ideas of tracking their citizens for vaccination.
France is seeking to establish a registry of vaccinated citizens, alongside their health conditions. But this campaign is off to a slow start as officials look to build trust in the system. Polls in the country reflect utmost skepticism towards vaccination, with less than half of the French populations intending to get vaccinated. (Related: Americans to be issued vaccination record cards after receiving the coronavirus jab.)
On Twitter President Emmanuel Macron stated that vaccination will not be mandatory in France.
"I've said it before and I'm repeating it: The vaccine won't be compulsory," he said. "The cost of the vaccine is completely covered. There are no charges. Let's be proud of our health system."
Austria will roll out an electronic vaccination certificate where both patients and authorities can store vaccination records in the first quarter of 2021, Health Minister Rudolf Anschober told journalists in the capital Vienna. He added that the country plans to bolster its COVID-19 vaccination efforts with an information campaign.
Anschober remarked: "We won't convince fierce anti-vaxxers, but I do see many who are undecided."
Based on data from Johns Hopkins University, Spain currently has a 1.8 million COVID-19 caseload with 150,376 recoveries and 50,442 deaths. France has 2.6 million COVID-19 cases with 197,726 recoveries and 64,204 deaths. Meanwhile, Austria registered 355,352 COVID-19 cases with 328,974 recoveries and 6,059 deaths.
Visit Pandemic.news to learn more about vaccination efforts by other countries against the Wuhan coronavirus.