Spain to lift suspension of AstraZeneca vaccine for second dose in people under 60

MADRID, May 19 (Reuters) - Spain will allow people under age 60 who have received a first dose of AstraZeneca Plc’s COVID-19 vaccine to receive their second inoculation either with the AstraZeneca drug or with Pfizer Inc’s vaccine, Health Minister Carolina Darias said on Wednesday.

“It is an exception due to the extraordinary circumstances,” Darias told a news conference.

Until now, those who had received their first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine were in limbo because the government suspended that vaccine in March, for people under 60, due to blood-clot concerns.

The new policy will affect about 1.5 million Spaniards who have already received their first AstraZeneca dose.

A study by the government’s Carlos III Health Institute found that giving a dose of the vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech SE to people who already received a first shot of the AstraZeneca vaccine was safe and effective.

Graphic: COVID-19 global vaccination tracker: here (Reporting by Belén Carreño in Madrid Editing by Matthew Lewis)