Spain will begin keeping a record of those who refuse a coronavirus vaccine and will share that information with other nations in the European Union, the country’s health minister said Monday.

The registry won’t be made public, Health Minister Salvador Illa told La Sexta television, and employers will not have access to it. He said the record is to ensure there was no error in the system and that the person was given the opportunity of being vaccinated.

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“The way to defeat the virus is to vaccinate all of us or the more the better,” Illa said, emphasizing that the vaccine will not be made mandatory.

The number of Spaniards who have said they won’t take the COVID-19 vaccine has fallen to 28% in December from 47% last month, Agence France-Presse reported.

The first shipments of coronavirus vaccines developed by BioNTech and Pfizer arrived across the European Union over the weekend, and authorities have started to vaccinate the most vulnerable populations. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)

The first shipments of coronavirus vaccines developed by BioNTech and Pfizer arrived across the European Union over the weekend, and authorities have started to vaccinate the most vulnerable populations. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)

Spain, one of the European nations hit hardest by the virus, began distributing the vaccine on Sunday.

Two women, a 96-year-old nursing home resident and a 48-year-old worker at the facility, became the first Spaniards to receive the vaccinations.

Illa’s remarks come as Spain surpassed the milestone of 50,000 deaths officially attributed to COVID-19.

The Spanish health ministry said Monday the number of victims has reached 50,122. Spain has recorded almost 1.88 million cases among its population of 47 million.

To slow the spread of the virus, Spain remains under nationwide restrictions.

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A curfew between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. will stay in place until at least May, and limitations on movement between some regions were imposed over the holidays.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.



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