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More than 40% of Spaniards willing to get COVID-19 vaccine -survey

MADRID, Dec 21 (Reuters) - The number of Spaniards willing to receive COVID-19 vaccine shots as soon as they become available rose to over 40% in the latest official poll published on Monday, from 37% in a previous survey a month ago.

While 28% of respondents in the survey by the Centre for Sociological Studies (CIS) said they would not take the vaccine immediately, that was a sharp drop from 47% in a previous CIS poll published on Nov. 18 that asked the same question.

Following a new increase in infections over the past two weeks, another 16.2% of survey respondents said they would be willing to be vaccinated if the shot “has guarantees, if it is tested, if it is reliable.”

The survey was carried out on Dec. 1-9 among 3,800 people.

The EU drug regulator is expected to decide on Monday on approval for the vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech after the shot was authorised in several countries.

Spain expects to start its voluntary vaccination campaign on Dec. 27 and cover up to 20 million people by May or June 2021.

Spain has been one of Europe’s hardest-hit countries in the pandemic. The death toll climbed by 149 on Friday to 48,926, latest health ministry data shows. The number of cases rose by 11,815 to reach 1,797,236. (Reporting by Emma Pinedo, editing by Andrei Khalip and Susan Fenton)

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