SPANISH ARMED FORCES FACE VACCINATION SCANDAL

Some high-ranking officials from the Spanish Armed Forces misused COVID-19 vaccines for military personnel engaged in operations at the end of January, according to recent media reports.

The scandal, which was strongly criticised by EUROMIL Spanish member association AUME, led to the resignation of the Spanish Chief of Defence, General Miguel Ángel Villarroya, in order to “not damage the good name and image of Spanish armed forces”.

Spanish Chief of Defence, General Miguel Ángel Villarroya,

The Spanish Armed Forces are still engaged in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic and support the authorities with Operation BALUARTE, which traces contacts of people tested positive.

The Military Emergency Unit (UME) deployed its workforce to help out during the snow storm in Spain that blocked Madrid and other cities for days. At the same time, the third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic is registering records of infections. Military health personnel and other army units set up field hospitals to prevent the foreseeable collapse of certain hospital capacity.

The roll-out of vaccination in Spain has been controversial due to an insufficient injection rate of the vaccine doses received. Some public officials have received the first shot of vaccine, skipping the priority order established in the National Vaccination Plan.

Spanish Armed Forces have received a quota of vaccines to administer to frontline personnel and others scheduled to participate in an international mission. However, the Defence General Staff (EMAD) has drawn up a vaccine administration plan that includes the generals and high-ranking officers, including the Chief of Staff. This situation has been denounced in the media while the Defence Minister announced an investigation into the circumstances of this vaccination of personnel assigned to the EMAD.