SEAT S.A. offers its health resources to vaccinate the population against COVID-19
- The company and the Catalan Government reach an agreement whereby the carmaker will help the public health service with the vaccination process of the population in its area, once the availability of vaccines has been increased
- SEAT S.A. will open one of its buildings, with its own health staff, as a vaccination centre, and will travel to several locations to vaccinate in the motorhomes used by CUPRA in competitions
- The initiative was ratified during a visit to the company’s headquarters by the Vice-president of the Catalan Government, Pere Aragonès, and the Catalan Minister of Health, Alba Vergés
- SEAT S.A. is once again at the service of society to contribute to alleviating the impact of the pandemic, as it did in the first wave with the production of emergency ventilators
SEAT S.A. and the Catalan Ministry of Health have reached an agreement to collaborate and streamline the vaccination process for the general population, once sufficient doses are available to massively vaccinate society against COVID-19. The company has offered to lend its infrastructure and healthcare staff to support the public health services in administering the vaccines. The company has offered to immunise the population in their immediate vicinity and both SEAT and Volkswagen Group employees’ in Catalonia, together with their families, following the official vaccination plan of the authorities. With this collaboration, the company wishes to demonstrate its commitment to society and its spirit of contribution in the fight against the pandemic.
This was agreed today at a meeting at the company’s headquarters in Martorell, where the details of the initiative were finalised. The meeting was attended by Catalan Government Vice-president Pere Aragonès and Catalan Minister of Health Alba Vergés, as well as SEAT and CUPRA President Wayne Griffiths, Vice-president for Human Resources and Organisation Xavier Ros, Head of Health, Safety and Emergencies Dr. Patricia Such, and the company’s Director of Institutional Relations Josep Maria Recasens.
Specifically, SEAT S.A. will open one of its buildings, annexed to the company’s headquarters in Martorell, to become a vaccination centre for the residents of the Baix Llobregat area, where the company’s own health staff will be administering the doses. With this action, which will be implemented as soon as there are enough vaccines available, SEAT S.A. aims to help speed up the immunisation process for the population as a whole and contribute to decongesting the health system. The company estimates that it could administer around 8,000 doses per day, or 160,000 doses per month. In addition, through delegation by the health authorities and following their plan, the car manufacturer has also offered to vaccinate all employees of SEAT S.A. and the Volkswagen Group in the rest of Spain, as well as their families, totalling around 50,000 people, as soon as vaccines are available.
“Since the beginning of the pandemic we've done everything possible to look after the health of our employees. Using a well-defined testing strategy, we've performed over 100,000 tests in the past year, with an infection rate of only 0.7%. Cooperation is key to boosting the country's economy and go from prevention to protection, to immunising. We aim to lead economic recovery and our health services will play a key role. We're very proud to announce today that we will implement the necessary measures to help vaccinate thousands of people” said Wayne Griffiths. "The production of ventilators that we undertook at the start of the pandemic is one of the most amazing projects that SEAT has spearheaded in its 70-year history. The arrival of vaccines signals a period of great optimism. We believe that prevention and vaccines are the answer to overcoming this pandemic, and quickly reactivating all social and economic activity.” Meanwhile, Xavier Ros said “at SEAT we’ve maintained high standards of employees’ health care for years, and during the pandemic we managed to demonstrate this once again, registering very low infection rates among our workforce. We’ll now help to combat the virus beyond our own company in the most effective way, which is through vaccination.”
Pere Aragonès expressed his gratitude for “SEAT’s constant willingness to collaborate with the Catalan Government and to put the full potential of this leading company at the service of the country.” Also, he highlighted “the company’s commitment to citizens, as demonstrated with initiatives such as the one we’re presenting today and on other occasions; for example, during the first wave of the pandemic when it invented a new ventilator system which saved many lives.” Likewise, Alba Vergés has underlinde that “the agreement between the Generalitat and SEAT is yet another example that vaccinating against COVID-19 requires everyone’s collaboration. At the Department of Health we’re grateful for this collaboration, but it’s important that we receive more vaccines in order to speed up vaccination efforts.”
CUPRA motorhomes as mobile vaccination centres in remote villages
Within the framework of the agreement reached with the Government of Catalonia, SEAT S.A. has undertaken to help distribute the vaccine to towns where it is necessary, in order to help extend immunisation to the maximum number of people in the shortest possible time.
The company will travel to these locations in a CUPRA motorhome, which are the vehicles used by drivers during sporting competitions and which have been adapted for health use. Inside, SEAT S.A. health personnel will administer the vaccine to the residents of several towns throughout Catalonia, in coordination with the health authorities, facilitating the process.
The prevention staff at SEAT S.A. received the first dose of the vaccine this week, in line with the Catalan government’s vaccination plan. The meeting was also an opportunity for the Generalitat’s health staff to explain to their counterparts at SEAT S.A. the protocols for administering the vaccine. Since the beginning of the pandemic, a team of more than 100 company employees has been working to contain COVID-19 among the more than 20,000 employees of the company and Volkswagen Group companies in Spain, which have had a positivity rate of only around 1%. SEAT also expects to vaccinate its sensitive employees in the coming weeks, some 2,000 people, in line with the vaccination plans of the health authorities.
SEAT and health, a long history
Faced with the challenge of COVID-19, SEAT. S.A. once again demonstrated its responsibility, creativity and determination to help society, with a pioneering project to manufacture emergency ventilators to donate to medical centres in response to the shortage of medical equipment in the first wave of the pandemic. The initiative was made possible thanks to a team of 150 professionals from different areas of the company who, in collaboration with the start-up Protofy.XYZ, medical professionals and the Spanish Agency for Medicines and Health Products, worked tirelessly to come up with a viable prototype by adapting the motor of a SEAT Leon windscreen wiper and mass-producing it in Workshop 9 in Martorell. The result was the production of more than 600 emergency ventilators in record time, which were sent to hospitals all over Spain at the height of the pandemic.
In addition, SEAT S.A. was the first company in Spain to carry out PCR tests on its 15,000 employees to guarantee their health and prevent the spread of SARS-CoV-2, when it was decided to gradually resume activity on 27 April 2020. After the return from the summer holidays and again after the Christmas break, the company repeated this mass screening to detect asymptomatic cases and prevent transmission of the virus among the workforce.
Earlier this year, the company went a step further by approving a plan whereby more than 10,000 workers at all work centres will be tested for antigens twice a week, with an average of 4,500 tests per day. The aim of this measure is to minimise the risk of outbreaks in the workplace and to relieve the public health network, given the alarming increase in cases due to social gatherings and the spread of the British strain of the coronavirus, which is estimated much more contagious. Together with the other hygiene and prevention measures implemented in the workplace (hand sanitising, use of facemasks, distancing, capacity limits), the company has managed to keep the number of positive cases well below the average in its environment, without ever having exceeded 1%.