People who decline to be vaccinated against coronavirus in Spain will be listed in a new registry that will be shared with European Union Member states, Spain’s Health Minister Salvador Illa said in a television interview on Monday.
Speaking to Spain’s La Sexta TV, Illa stressed that the information will not be made public, in line with Spain’s data protection laws, and vaccinations will not be made compulsory.
“What will be done is a registry…of those people who have been offered it and simply rejected it,” Illa told La Sexta.
However, health care professionals have since weighed in, saying the idea presents potential dangers.
“The most important thing is to know how the registry will be used,” said Jose Luis Cobos, the deputy director of the Spanish General Council of Nursing.
“If it’s for public health purposes to better understand COVID, and it’s anonymous, that’s one thing. But if it’s ‘I’m now on the list of the bad people,’ that’s another thing. We don’t think a registry should be used to infringe on liberties, or for employers against people,” he added.
Hours after Illa’s television interview Monday, the head of Spain’s Medicines Agency, Maria Jesus Lamas, told Spain’s SER radio that the new registry would be used “to understand the causes behind declining the vaccination…doubt or rejection.”
“The registry is anonymous. There’s no chance of identifying anyone in the registry,” she added.
Spain’s 17 regional governments administer vaccines across the nation, and in the southern region of Andalusia, people currently appear in a registry only if they get a vaccine, including its batch number and who administered it for quality control, an Andalusia health department spokesperson told CNN.
The spokesperson also noted that there is no registry for members of the general public who decline vaccinations, although Andalusia health care workers must sign a document if they refuse a vaccination.
Spain has the world’s ninth largest number of coronavirus cases, at more than 1.8 million, and the tenth highest number of deaths, at just over 50,000, according to Johns Hopkins University.