The Orihuela Councillor for Health, José Galiano has resigned. He presented his resignation on Friday to the mayor of Orihuela, Emilio Bascuñana.
However, the councillor made it quite clear that he is only resigning from his roles within the council, Health, Statistics, Parque Móvil and Urban Transport, and that he is determined to retain his position as a municipal councillor.
He told the mayor that he is stepping down until such time as the situation regarding the vaccination process is resolved, and those who have committed a wrongdoing in receiving a first dose are identified.
Galiano said that he had offered to resign from his council roles on a number of occasions since criticism of his vaccination was first published in the media, but until Friday, when he spoke to the mayor once again, they had all been refused.
However, he said that the situation is now beginning to have a damaging effect on many of his council departments, so he has finally decided to withdraw from them all until such time as the situation is resolved.
The councillor added, “I have a very clear conscience and I am sure that if there is justice and decency, this will soon show a satisfactory outcome because, I never asked to be vaccinated and I did not take the vaccine from anyone else. I was vaccinated by staff from the Ministry of Health who were fully aware of the vaccination protocol at the time and were about to throw away unused doses of the vaccine.”
The Autonomous Secretary of Public Health only specifically defined the protocol on 20 January, 14 days after the vaccine was administered.
Galiano’s withdrawal from his council responsibilities has proved a welcome relief for leader of Orihuela’s Ciudadanos Group, José Aix, who has been under some pressure from the party national leadership to ensure the termination and removal of powers from the councillor.
Speaking about the resignation Aix said that he welcomed the decision, which was “a step that has undoubtedly occurred as a consequence of the demands of Ciudadanos”.
Aix has also said that “from now on, we hope that the Ministry of Health will also clarify the other people who have accessed the vaccines, benefiting from their status as public servants. We must go all the way to clean up the image of the institutions before the people and to make it clear that we are not all the same”.
Following his resignation Galiano has now returned to his role as a nurse at the Orihuela Costa Health Centre, which he will combine with his, now limited, responsibilities as a councillor in the Orihuela municipality.
So why are there vaccines that are being left over?
There are, of course, a variety of reasons which could be as simple as a patient who was scheduled to receive a jab fails to show up for their appointment. That immediately creates a problem, because vaccines have a limited shelf life.
For example, the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine has to be administered within five days of the vial being thawed from sub-zero storage temperatures, otherwise, they go to waste, depriving someone of immunisation.
Professor Heather Draper of the Warwick Medical School told the BBC that, “If we’re talking about the Pfizer vaccine that can’t be stored for very long, then obviously a decision has to be made about it very quickly, because it can’t be kept, so It’s much better for anyone to be vaccinated, rather than waste the vaccine.”
With the current shortage in the supply of vaccines, particularly within the EU, every vaccine counts, even if only a small number are left over.
The situation regarding such short notice vaccinations is pretty much the same across Europe but it only seems to be in Spain where the authorities are taking such a firm stance.
In the Valencian Community the President, while calling on irregularly vaccinated public officials to resign from office, Ximo Puig, has said that none of them will receive a second dose of the vaccine. However since making his initial ‘ fire and brimstone’ statement a little over two weeks ago, in which he was quite clearly playing to the anger of the general public, he now seems to have gone very quiet on the matter relegating the subject to the bottom of his in tray as it is theatrically played out in the different municipalities of the Valencian Community.