Everyday life in Gibraltar is almost back to normal after a vaccination campaign which has given the jab to close to 85% of the population. And the British Overseas Territory has become one of the first places in the world to ease restrictions such as outdoor mask-wearing.
Gibraltar was hit hard by the pandemic around Christmas, in a wave that caused most of its cases and deaths. The surge only receded in mid-February amid a strict lockdown and a vaccination campaign that relied on a steady supply of jabs from the UK.
The situation contrasts sharply with neighbouring Spain. Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez has only just told the nation his government should be able to vaccinate 70% of Spain”s adult population – by the end of the summer.
Matilde Cañelles is an immunologist at the IFS-CSIC, the Spanish National Research Council. She says it’s hard not to look with some envy towards the situation in Gibraltar.
“They have not only vaccinated most of their population, but they are also vaccinating Spaniards who walk over there and go every day back and forth, some 5,000 people,” she says. “It can create some frustration because here in Spain we are behind … even people 80 years old, more than 80 years old, are not still vaccinated in Spain. So this is kind of frustrating for us.”
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