May 16, 2022 10:34 am

Third dose: what the experts think about the vaccination rhythm and what is expected for the fall

The application of booster dose The additional of the vaccine against new coronavirus gained importance as much more contagious variants appeared, such as omicron. Therefore, specialists emphasize the need to move forward in reinforcing vaccination schedules four months after the second injection. In this sense, Argentina advances, for some experts consulted by THE NATION, at a slow pace and for others, at a good pace, and one of the unknowns that arise is if once again the country is running a race against time to be able to increase the percentage of third doses applied before the arrival of autumn, or if in any case, after this wave of infections, the next few months will be more benevolent due to the immunity left by the infection.

One of the queries that this medium made to the Ministry of Health of the Nation, is why it is not advancing even faster in the application of the third doses, taking into account that there is little more than 10,000,000 vaccines in the refrigerators of the jurisdictions. In other words, they have already been delivered by the organization led by Carla Vizzotti, but they have not yet been applied.

To which they responded that each jurisdiction is in charge of designing and implementing the vaccination plan, although in general terms at the national level progress is being made at “a very high rate.”

We apply about 400,000 doses per day, among those who start the regimen, those who complete it or those who give themselves booster doses or additional doses, which is a very high figure. In provinces like Chubut, vaccination numbers doubled those of July last year. We are at a high rate”, Ministry sources indicated. According to official data, last week, 229,420 booster doses and 28,872 additional doses were applied in Argentina every 24 hours. It should be explained that booster doses are considered to be those that are applied to people who already have two doses and are given an extra or booster to strengthen immunity that declines over time. On the other hand, they are considered additional to those given to people who have immunodeficiencies or are over 60 years of age and were inoculated with inactivated virus drugs, such as Sinopharm, and to consider them with the complete schedule they need three doses of the vaccine.

Faced with this scenario, Conrad Stol, neurologist who closely follows the evolution of the pandemic, believes that Argentina should apply twice as many vaccines per day. “The application should be decentralized. People would not have to take a bus or a train to get vaccinated. Chile and Uruguay did that and we should too”. In the case of the trans-Andean country, for example, it allows people to go to any authorized vaccination point, regardless of their work or residence address, without an appointment.

Jorge Geffner, member of the Department of Microbiology, Parasitology and Immunology of the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Buenos Aires and principal investigator of the Conicet, considers that the rate of inoculation should be higher, although he makes a caveat: “My assessment of the latest months of the vaccination campaign is good. The National State delivers them and then the distribution and application is done by each province, that is why it is also necessary to analyze case by case. Of course It would be necessary to advance faster, but we also have to see how feasible that is “. And he adds: “Anyway, I think we are going to arrive with a good coverage of third doses in the fall, but, if Argentina is compared with some European countries in terms of third doses, we have applied half. In general terms, In terms of vaccines, we are making progress, what I think needs to be resumed are capacity and care”.

So far, 10,624,440 injections have been applied locally as booster or additional doses, which represents 23.4% of the population. Compared to the region, according to the site that follows the evolution of the pandemic, Our World in Data, Argentina was far from Chile’s 63.36% and Uruguay’s 48.99%, but it was, and still is, above Peru (19.62%), Brazil (18.31%), Ecuador ( 11.13%), Bolivia (6.65%), and Paraguay (10.42%). However, countries like France or Italy have already applied a third dose to 44.51% and 47.26% of their population, respectively.

“The vaccination campaign is going well. 10,000,000 third doses have already been applied. If we look at the population over 40 years of age, 42% have already received it and that is a good figure, because that is where the vulnerable population is, above all. There are vaccines and this puts us in a favorable situation for the fall, then we have to see how the pandemic evolves. What you have to resume is the care”, warns Daniela Hozbor, group director at the VacSal Laboratory of the National University of La Plata and principal investigator at Conicet.

Edward Lopez, infectologist and presidential adviser during the pandemic, points out that thinking about how Argentina will be in health terms in the coming months is a difficult question, but highlights that it would be necessary to reach the fall with a good part of the population vaccinated to avoid a possible outbreak in case for a new variant to appear. “On the other hand, it is very possible that this wave, if it behaves like in Norway, Denmark or South Africa, cases begin to show plateau for two weeks and then they will tend to go down, and descent is usually rapid and leaves some level of immunity. But we must continue to work very hard on testing and vaccination. Whether the fall is favorable will depend on how the virus behaves and on social behavior, ”explained the specialist.

Leda Guzzi, a member of the Argentine Society of Infectious Diseases (SADI), believes that thinking about the fall is doing “futurology”, but she thinks that this escalation of infections could keep Argentina away from the possibility of a resurgence for a long time. “It is possible that the impact from this wave generate immunity, and that this does not give rise to a new wave so quickly. Therefore, it may be that the fall is favorable, but we do not know for sure. It is very important that the population has access to the third dose”, he argues.

No big outbreaks are being seen in the rest of the world after the omicron wave. In any case, we could expect a certain increase in cases in the fall and that this will be accompanied by other respiratory viruses typical of that time of year,” said Ricardo Teijeiro, a member of SADI.

From the Ministry of Health of the Nation they add: “The objective is to reach the fall with the largest number of people with a complete scheme and with third doses or booster doses. Important work is also being carried out with the Ministry of Education so that the boys advance with the vaccination before the beginning of the classes”.

On the other hand, López points out that this year It is possible that second-generation vaccines will begin to appear that will make it possible to deal with the new variants more effectively. “Although some in Israel have up to four doses and still get it, the vaccines we have now mostly prevent severe disease. It is still a matter of time until second-generation vaccines appear.”

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