Catalonia’s Upper Court on Tuesday ordered the local health department to vaccinate members of Spanish police forces “immediately” and “without excuses”.
The ruling came after national police forces in Catalonia complained that even though they were considered essential workers and entitled to COVID-19 vaccines, the Catalan Health Department was excluding them.
Catalonia is ruled by a separatist government that has clashed with Spanish authorities on several occasions.
According to the court document, which cited official statistics, 80.3% of the Catalan police (Mossos) and 71.2% of city police have received COVID-19 jabs as of last Thursday.
In contrast, just 9.9% of national police and 6.3% of the Spanish Civil Guard forces in Catalonia have been vaccinated.
The court gave the Catalan health department 10 days to correct the imbalance.
Catalan health officials argued that the abrupt shift away from using the AstraZeneca vaccine in people younger than 60 years old got in the way of vaccinating essential workers.
“Have we politicized the vaccine pause? No. But this was politicized from Madrid and quickly turned into a legal matter. It’s already complicated enough without having to adapt to judicial criteria,” said Catalan Health Secretary Josep Maria Argimon.
More than 23% of the Spanish population has received at least one vaccine jab.
Most of the doses in recent weeks have gone to seniors instead of essential workers. Now, 66% of those older than 60 years old in Spain have received at least one jab.
Even so, the country reported 117 more COVID-19 deaths on Tuesday, slightly more than the same day last week.
Cases also rose slightly, with another 7,665 new confirmed infections.
In fear of the Indian variants, Spain announced that all travelers arriving from India will have to quarantine for 10 days upon arrival starting Wednesday.
Arrivals from 12 other countries, including Brazil, Peru, Colombia, Botswana, and South Africa, also have to quarantine when coming to Spain.