More than 2.8 million people over the age of 80 and those who live there residences are called from this Monday, September 26, to wear the fourth dose of the Covid vaccine. This is the second dose of memory, which comes at a time when the World Health Organization (WHO) is almost celebrating the end of the pandemic and normality has finally established among citizens as these are empty hospitals for patients. with the virus. In this scenario, officials and health experts urge the elderly population to wear it, before risk of new variants appearing of the virus before theirs weaker immune systems.
According to the Ministry of Health, the incidence in people over the age of 59 is 129.4 and people hospitalized are 2,515, of which 159 in intensive care. Although infections, hospitalizations and deaths have not ceased, the situation is far from what it was when vaccinations against Covid began, in December 2020 and with them also the over 80s and residents. The effect began to show soon after, when infections, severe cases and deaths began to manifest rush into the residencesfor instance.
Since then, the older population, aged 70 and over, has been the most loyal to the Covid vaccine. As happened with the first two, practically the 100% of the population of that strip has the third dose, which will be followed by the fourth from Monday. In this they trust the Ministry of Health before a new phase of the campaign that takes place in full pandemic demobilization of the company. “It’s a population that has always been vaccinated, they know they are the most vulnerable and are very close to the health system“As they go to the doctor regularly, they aim to hope that the response to the fourth dose is as good as the previous ones.
“Now the challenges that lie ahead have to do with being able to new variants, duration of immunity who have granted us the ones we have already worn “, said the Minister of Health a few days ago, Carolina Daria.
In addition to people over the age of 80 and residents, people residing in residences and other centers for the disabled, it is recommended that the health and social health personnel, both those who work in health centers, services and structures, both health centers and hospitals, in emergency health services in contact with patients and staff of nursing homes or assistance to the disabled.
As always, as communities vaccinate the elderly at their own pace, administering this second booster dose it will continue in descending order of age, up to the age of 60, which at the moment is where experts from the Vaccine Conference and the Public Health Commission set the threshold. That it later continues with a younger population is something that will be seen later, depending on how the pandemic evolves. Yes, this fourth dose is recommended for people under the age of 60 with “risk conditions”.
Variants and immunity
The Spanish Society of Geriatrics and Gerontology (SEGG) is clear that older people should wear it. “It is not yet known whether [la Covid] predominates as a respiratory virus this winter, but it’s suspicious. That’s why this vaccination was launched, “he says Lizzeth Canchucaja, from his Vaccini group. They defend the need for this fourth dose. Even for people who, despite being under 80, live in residences because it is common that they have other ailments that also make them particularly vulnerable to Covid.
“The effectiveness of the vaccine was high, 85-90%, but it’s true as people get older, this effectiveness decreases “, adds Canchucaja. This decrease in vaccine protection with the passage of time – “begins to decrease after six months” – is general in the population, which as a whole is also exposed to the appearance of new variants that escape the immunity given by vaccines, as it is success with ómicron. This was the origin of the development of new serum modalities, adapted to this variant and its sub-variants and which will now be inoculated as a fourth dose. According to the expert SEGG, however, All this is accentuated when it comes to the elderly population, which accuses “the deterioration of the immune system that manifests itself innately in aging”. “An elderly person’s immune system is not the same as that of a child or a young person,” she warns.
The European Center for Disease Control asked EU countries months ago to start administering the fourth dose to the most vulnerable population. Like other countries like Portugal, Spain has chosen to wait for pharmaceutical companies to develop new vaccines against Covid, who are able to deal with the variant omicron, which has re-sown infections in Europe since the end of last year and which has proven to be largely resistant to existing sera, affecting the most vulnerable population to a greater extent, also due to age. Finally Pfizer and Moderna have created new serums, updated to ómicron and two of its variants, BA.4 and BA.5. As Darias said a few days ago, in September 16 million doses will arrive and by the end of the year a total of 44 millionan amount sufficient to vaccinate almost the entire Spanish population, although it is not currently foreseen.
Forgetting the pandemic
This is the scientific scenario in which the fourth dose vaccination will begin on Monday. Next to it, there is another of a more psychological, more social nature, which refers to the fact that the population is slowly forgetting about a pandemic which seems to be coming to an end. WHO Director-General, Tedros Adhanomsaid a few days ago that “the end of the pandemic has never been so close” and the president of the United States, Joe Biden, went further by stating that “the pandemic is over”. At street level, the population is increasingly leaving Covid behind.
Although possible shocks are still expected, linked to the possible appearance of new variants, what is palpable is that practically there are no restrictions due to the covid and that the the vaccination campaign has lost Protagonism almost absolute that he had in 2021, as most of the population received one, two and three doses. Not only that, because less than half of the under 40s have not yet received the third dose, which only reaches 65% of the group between 40 and 50 years old. Darias encouraged them to wear it days ago, now that the vaccination process prepares for a new milestone, that of the fourth dose.
In the SEGG they admit it there is some demobilization among the population to vaccinate the elderly, who to date have been the most vaccinated with subsequent doses. Specifically, practically 100% of the population over 70 takes the third dose. In many cases they will be now children and other relatives who request an appointment for them or accompany them to the health center or ‘vaccination centers’.
“It will probably be more complicated reach that percentage, but we will have to try “, says Canchucaja, who is committed to” educating families that the fourth dose is important because [los mayores de 80] They are already vulnerable people due to a weak immune system due to aging. “He adds that what has been verified in the last year, that a person who has had Covid can be reinfected, also applies to them.
“We are confident that it will be a success again of the countryside, “they say in Salute.
As a first measure to facilitate the process, the second booster dose will practically coincide with the seasonal flu campaign, as happened last year when this double vaccination was resolved one injection in each arm. The Public Health Commission this week recommended “joint administration” of the two vaccines, against influenza and Covid, provided that both vaccines are available. They can also be given alongside others such as the pneumococcal vaccine.
The fourth dose will begin on September 26 and the flu campaign will begin between the same day and October 17. However, this will depend on each community as well Andalusia will not start this Monday, but on October 3rdthe same day the seasonal flu vaccination begins to align both of them.
The Cantabrian Minister of Health, Raul Fisher, I was confident a few days ago that this new phase of vaccination will develop “with the same efficiency which has been done on previous occasions “and, like other communities, ensured that everything was ready to begin administering the fourth doses.
Also in other communities. Madrid and the Balearic Islands will start on Monday residences of the elderly. “We have primary care teams, with the support of Summa 112, and with experienced staff from the residences”, explained the Minister of Health of Madrid a few days ago. Enrique Ruiz-Escudero. For the part of him, Galicia calls for the fourth dose campaign groups to be held in the ‘vaccines‘, although it will carry out a “recovery” for those over 80 years of age who cannot go to these locations. If so, they should go to health centers.
In Castilla y León, the fourth dose will be administered from Monday along with the flu shot residences in the case of institutionalized staff, in work centers for health and social health personnel or in places where the rest of the population over 60 years old – from the oldest to the youngest – be quoted.