By Matías Varela
The Mar del Plata doctor who works as National Director of Epidemiology and Strategic Information, Analía Rearte, estimated in dialogue with THE CAPITAL that the health scenario of 2022 “will be clearly very different from what it was this year” thanks to the vaccination plan, although she clarified that with the Covid “you always have to be very cautious.”
In this context, he warned that in Argentina “we are already beginning with community circulation” of the Delta variant, so he does not rule out an increase in infections, but stressed the importance of inoculation so that the impact of a possible third wave is low in cases of serious illness and especially in mortality.
However, he clarified that from the Ministry of Health of the Nation they are “expectant that we can have a very good summer season” at the epidemiological level.
– In what situation are we today with respect to the pandemic?
– We are in a very important drop in the number of cases. We did not have this epidemiological situation in the entire pandemic because the decrease that occurred in the periods that we fell did not reach the current number and that is thanks to vaccination. We are in a very good stage, but we have to continue taking care of ourselves, the pandemic has not ended.
– On Tuesday the vaccination of children began, how important is this within the vaccination plan?
– It is very important to take care of children because, although the risk is lower than in adults, the probability that they will contract a serious disease is not zero. It is also suitable for cutting drive chains. Thus, the children will be able to return to their activities without transmitting the virus in the family.
– At the epidemiological level, what effect will progress in vaccinating minors have in the short and medium term?
– We have projections that show us that, if we manage to vaccinate a significant number of children, the impact of the Delta variant, which we have already started with community circulation, may be much less.
– Parents or guardians of minors ask if it is safe to vaccinate children against Covid. It is?
– The Sinopharm vaccine given to children contains an inactivated virus. This is a platform that has already been used for many vaccines, such as those for Hepatitis A or the flu. It is a well-known platform with a lot of experience in security, years of use in children and with millions of doses of Covid applied worldwide.
– Does this security also include children with risk factors?
– One of the advantages of inactivated virus vaccines, such as the polio vaccine, which is on schedule, is that they do not have the ability to replicate the virus. Then precisely this type of vaccines are indicated for people with some disease.
– You mentioned that in the country there is already a community circulation of the Delta variant. How is the situation?
– We are starting circulation. All the measures, which were harsh and difficult for the population that had to travel and others, has managed to delay it. In some provinces, 20% of the cases are already Delta. It is a highly communicable variable and the cases are likely to increase again, but with the vaccination levels we have, we expect that the impact on severe disease and mortality will be much lower than in the last wave and, the more we vaccinate, the more we block. the broadcast.
– Hypotheses indicate that in Argentina the Delta did not have the same impact as in other countries. What is true?
– I would say that more than the different vaccines is the effectiveness they have. We have vaccines that have shown very good effectiveness. The variations thing was something that was thought. Today in Argentina the 20% of Delta that we have is at the expense of the fact that it was displacing the Landa variant more than anything else, although it has not yet displaced the Manaus variant. However, in Rio de Janeiro, which had a predominance of the Manaus variant, Delta came and went from 15% in June to 48% in July and in August it was already 90%.
– Faced with this panorama, how can the tourist movement that will take place in the summer impact?
– We are expecting that we can have a very good season, thinking that by summer we will have the majority of the population vaccinated. The scheme will be completed and these vaccination coverage will allow us to have a very good season.
– If the summer is positive in health terms, can 2022 be the year in which the post-pandemic begins?
– With Covid you always have to be very cautious. We hope that there may be a rise in cases again, but the important thing with vaccination levels is that circulation and mortality be lower. With that, we are quite sure and we think that in 2022, with the entire population vaccinated, plus the evaluation of third doses in specific groups, clearly the scenario will be very different from what it was this year.
“They will evaluate the application of a third dose”
Rearte assured that “in Argentina the application of third doses of vaccines against the coronavirus will be evaluated.” “We still have to vaccinate second doses. We are completing schemes and expanding groups, but it will probably begin to be evaluated, “said Rearte. In this sense, the Mar del Plata epidemiologist pointed out that “in some countries they began to be applied to those over 60 or to those immunocompromised, who respond less.”
In this context, he commented that in Argentina “an effectiveness study is being carried out in health personnel, who were the first to be vaccinated, to see if the effectiveness of the vaccine changed at all”.
“Right now there is not a very clear definition that a third dose is going to be necessary,” he said.
Finally, he pointed out that “as long as we continue to have countries in the world without vaccination, this clearly favors viral replication and the appearance of new variants, which can be a problem for all the rest, with which this is very collective.”
“The important thing is to get as much as possible with two doses. We begin to decrease the cases in winter, which is something very rare, so the vaccines clearly work very well, “he concluded.