Gibraltar's given Covid jab to 40% of residents compared to Spain's 4%

Gibraltar has given Covid jabs to 40 per cent of its residents – compared to Spain’s four per cent… in what is perhaps the starkest contrast between the speed of the UK’s vaccine rollout and the ‘slow-coach’ failure of Brussels

  • Thanks to jab supplies flown in by RAF, Gibraltar has so far inoculated well over a third of its 33,700 residents
  • British outpost last week said it had given first doses to over 13,000 people
  • In EU member Spain next-door, only 4% of people had had a first jab by Friday
  • Many of those protected by British-supplied jabs in Gibraltar include workers who travel each day from Spain to work in the Rock’s care sector

It is perhaps the starkest contrast between the speed of the UK’s vaccine rollout and the ‘slow-coach’ failure of Brussels.

Thanks to jab supplies flown in by the RAF, Gibraltar has so far inoculated well over a third of its 33,700 residents.

The famous British outpost on the Mediterranean last week announced it had given first doses to over 13,000 people – a rate of almost 40 per cent.

But in next-door Spain, the EU member which covets the tiny UK territory on its southern tip, only four per cent of people had had a first jab by Friday.

To rub salt in Madrid’s wounds, many of the people now protected by British-supplied jabs in Gibraltar include workers who travel each day from Spain to work in the Rock’s care sector. 

Thanks to jab supplies flown in by the RAF, Gibraltar has so far inoculated well over a third of its 33,700 residents. The famous British outpost on the Mediterranean last week announced it had given first doses to over 13,000 people – a rate of almost 40 per cent. (Above, a woman gets her Covid jab in Gibraltar)

In next-door Spain, the EU member which covets the tiny UK territory on its southern tip, only four per cent of people had had a first jab by Friday. To rub salt in Madrid’s wounds, many of the people now protected by British-supplied jabs in Gibraltar (above) include workers who travel each day from Spain to work in the Rock’s care sector

As befits its British Overseas Territory status, the Rock is being supplied with coronavirus vaccines flown out from the UK on RAF aircraft. (Above, RAF personnel load a batch of the Covid-19 vaccine onto a Voyager aircraft, bound for the Falkland Islands)

Last night, former Brexit Minister David Jones hailed the comparison as one more bonus of quitting the EU.

With fish and chips and warm beer galore, modern Gibraltar looks for all the world like a little bit of Britain on the Med. Perched on the edge of the Iberian peninsula, it was ceded by Spain to Britain more than 300 years ago.

And as befits its British Overseas Territory status, the Rock is being supplied with coronavirus vaccines flown out from the UK on RAF aircraft.

In a series of flights which began last month, more than 17,000 of the Pfizer-BioNTech jabs have so far been delivered.

The most recent consignment of 6,825 jabs arrived last weekend on a C-130J Hercules flying from RAF Brize Norton. Another is due to arrive tomorrow.

Fabian Picardo, the territory’s chief minister, last week expressed ‘the sincere gratitude’ of the people of Gibraltar to Defence Secretary Ben Wallace for the ‘sterling work done by the RAF’ to get the vaccines to the St Bernard’s Hospital on the Rock.

As with other EU countries, the vaccination rate in Spain has been hampered by the chaos engulfing the decision by Brussels to order supplies for all 27 member states and the resulting delays in vaccines being delivered. (Pictured, a healthcare worker at Enfermera Isabel Zendal hospital in Madrid on February 4)

Addressing Gibraltar’s parliament, he added: ‘The logistical work necessary to get the vaccine here has been extraordinary.’

Mr Picardo, who himself has been vaccinated, led a minute’s silence to the 80 Gibraltarians who have so far died from coronavirus. 

But he hailed the Rock’s vaccine rollout so far – which yesterday stood at 13,398 first doses and nearly 5,000 second doses – and raised hopes that with infections down, ‘we are slowly turning the corner’.

That vaccine drive included many of the Spanish nationals who cross into Gibraltar each day to work in the care-home sector. Spanish newspaper El Pais admitted last December that they would be the first Spaniards to get the jab.

As with other EU countries, the vaccination rate in Spain has been hampered by the chaos engulfing the decision by Brussels to order supplies for all 27 member states and the resulting delays in vaccines being delivered. 

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has been heavily criticised, including in her native Germany, for presiding over a procurement policy that has left Brussels trailing way behind the UK.

According to the World In Data league table last week, only about four per cent of Spaniards had received a first dose, compared to more than 17 per cent in the UK.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has been heavily criticised, including in her native Germany, for presiding over a procurement policy that has left Brussels trailing way behind the UK

Last night, senior Tory Mr Jones said: ‘I think it’s great that so many Gibraltarians are getting vaccinated at such a fast rate.

‘But it just goes to show how much better off Gibraltar is in being part of the UK as a newly sovereign nation capable of running its own highly successful vaccination, well-planned programme rather than the botched slow-coach operation in Brussels.’

His Tory colleague, Colonel Bob Stewart, secretary of Westminster’s all-party parliamentary group on Gibraltar, added: ‘Gibraltar has been in front of the curve all the way through the pandemic.

‘They have had total control on getting their population vaccinated and it does not surprise me that if they can, they will be using it to help local Spanish people for whom they have a great affinity.’

Mrs von der Leyen admitted last week that in relation to procuring the vaccines, Britain was like a ‘speedboat’ compared with the ‘tanker’ of the EU.

But she still insisted the ‘European approach is the right one’, saying: ‘On these vaccines, we worked faster than usual.’

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