Europe, Latest on coronavirus outbreak

Spanish officials resign over vaccine queue-jumping

At least 8 people have been forced to quit after receiving COVID-19 jab

Alyssa McMurtry  | 26.01.2021 - Update : 27.01.2021
Spanish officials resign over vaccine queue-jumping


The health minister of Spanish territory Ceuta resigned on Tuesday, joining a growing list of Spanish politicians and health officials who have been ousted from their positions for receiving COVID-19 vaccines out of turn.

It emerged that Ceuta’s Javier Guerrero was vaccinated for COVID-19 last week.

For now, Spain is only vaccinating residents and workers in nursing homes and health care workers.

“My employees asked me to get vaccinated… I didn’t want to get vaccinated, I don’t even get vaccinated for the flu. I don’t like vaccines,” he said last week, justifying his decision to get the injection out of turn.

But he announced his resignation earlier in the day, joining at least seven other members of the Spanish elite who have lost their jobs due to queue-jumping in the last week.

Over the weekend, Spain’s top-ranking military leader Gen. Miguel Angel Villarroya stepped down for getting vaccinated.

According to a statement, he “never intended to take advantage of unjustifiable privileges, which damaged the image of the Armed Forces and put in doubt the honor of the general.“

During the first wave of the pandemic, Villarroya addressed the nation on a daily basis about the military’s actions against COVID-19.

The mayor of Molina de Segura, the health ministers of Murcia and Huelva, a far-left political leader in Murcia, and two hospital directors in the Basque Country have also resigned for the same reason.

But not everyone vaccinated out of turn in Spain has stepped down.

According to Spanish broadcaster Antena 3, around 500 public officials have taken the COVID-19 vaccine irregularly.

“We aren’t going to quit. If we would have failed in our duties or committed a crime, then yes, we would step down,” Carolina Vives, mayor of El Verger, told the press last week, referring to the scandal in which both she and her politician husband received the vaccine.

The most common excuse has been that the politicians wanted to show the public that the vaccine is safe.

“In my opinion, no one who received a vaccine dose imprudently should be able to receive the second dose,” said Valencia Premier Ximo Puig on Jan. 21, where around 200 people have been caught queue jumping.

Spain’s chief epidemiologist Fernando Simon disagreed, however, calling it an “error” to withhold second doses.

Politicians from all sides of Spain’s political spectrum and across the country have been caught up in related scandals. This week it also emerged that the Bishop of Mallorca jumped to the front of the vaccination line.

Spain has so far administered more than 1.34 million COVID-19 vaccine doses – 92% of all the doses received – according to the Health Ministry.

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