Spanish care home investigated over claims it broke COVID-19 vaccine protocol

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MADRID (Reuters) - Madrid's regional authorities launched an investigation on Wednesday into a report that a care home allowed priests and relatives of workers to be vaccinated against COVID-19 in contravention of rules.

Only care home residents and staff are supposed to be vaccinated with the Pfizer vaccine under Madrid regional health authority regulations.

However, relatives of some of the staff at Casablanca Valdesur nursing home, in Valdemoro, south of Madrid, also received injections of the vaccine,, an online newspaper, reported on Wednesday.

"We have launched an investigation into the claim," a Madrid regional government spokesman said on Wednesday.

Grupo Casablanca, a care home company contracted by regional authorities to administer the vaccine to 1,600 people in a series of homes, said the drug has lifespan of two hours if not used.

To avoid wasting doses, it was used on people who were not staff or residents at the Valdesur home, the company said, adding rules were followed at all other homes.

"Some anomalies have been detected in the selection of people vaccinated against Covid-19 who are not residents of the Casablanca Valdesur nursing home, but who belong to their environment," it said in a statement.

"With the sole aim of taking advantage of 100% of the doses received and protecting the elderly in our residences as much as possible, several priests who assist us spiritually in the group centres, volunteers who are in contact with the elderly and some relatives of some employees have been vaccinated."

"The Casablanca group assumes responsibility for what happened and regrets the consequences that these anomalies in the selection process may have caused."

(Reporting by Graham Keeley; editing by Philippa Fletcher)