The problems with the organization of vaccination in the Community of Madrid are jeopardizing the optimal deadlines for injecting the second dose of Pfizer in the young population. It is the only region that is already delaying appointments beyond the established 21 days.
Madrid suspends the citation for the first dose of Pfizer at all vaccination points in the region
The Minister of Health, Enrique Ruiz Escudero, acknowledged this Monday that delays of four days are already being registered, although the number could be increasing. The patients are being summoned 25 days later for the second puncture when the marked time is three weeks in the case of this laboratory.
The Government of Isabel Díaz Ayuso links the situation with the strategy of the Ministry of Health and the “shortage of vaccines.” But the department headed by Carolina Darias justifies that Madrid put too many first doses of Pfizer in June, when very large shipments arrived in advance.
At the doors of hospitals and on the other side of the Health information telephone, there are accumulated cases of young people who have no news of their appointment. And without prior notice, it is not vaccinated. A large group of people verified this last Saturday at the Doce de Octubre hospital. At the entrance of the hospital, a queue of patients formed who had not been summoned on time and needed answers, as reported by Telemadrid.
The situation has puzzled the people of Madrid. The Community of Madrid confirmed last week that it stopped giving appointments for the first dose of Pfizer in order to save them for the second. However, now there are not enough to complete the pattern. Before, the regional government also paralyzed its administration in the health centers and suspended the self-appointment online. At the moment there are no problems with other brands: Moderna and Janssen are administered normally (the latter is a single dose); and AstraZeneca vials are left over since they are only inoculated to people over 60 years of age.
All this while Madrid continues to be the community -only ahead of the autonomous city of Melilla- with a lower rate of vaccination in percentage terms. In the region, 91.8% of the doses received have been placed, according to the latest data update.
No region has injected so little. Close to that figure are the Canary Islands with 92.6%, Castilla y León with 93.3%, Comunitat Valenciana with 93.2%, La Rioja with 92.4% or Ceuta with 92.8%.
An explanation: the dose previews
The Ministry links the delays with the “strategy of the Ministry to bet on Pfizer” and ensures that there is “an environment with a shortage of vaccines”, despite the fact that no other autonomous community has these problems. All receive the vials with the same distribution system agreed by the European Union.
In Euskadi, Castilla y León or Andalusia, the second appointment is set on the same day that patients go to get the first. In some regions like Cantabria even the two dates are communicated at the same time. Catalunya maintains a system similar to Madrid’s based on a text message alert on the mobile, although it is not registering any delay.
The Ministry of Health defends that there is no shortage of vaccines but that in June the doses were advanced and much larger remittances arrived. “All the autonomous communities knew that in June we achieved with great effort an advance of the doses of Pfizer and all made a correct planning of how to administer the first doses being aware that in July it would return to the previous levels,” replied the Secretary of State of Health, Silvia Calzón, who diagnosed “problems” in Madrid “to place itself in the national average and the spectacular performance of other communities”. That is, Health thinks that Madrid put more first doses than it should and now that’s why it has problems.
In this sense, Calzón explained that the region could administer some first punctures – currently suspended – “but not at the rate of June” and argued that Madrid “should not have stock problems with the doses it will receive from Pfizer and the second that you have saved, as recommended in the technical data sheet “.
“That it only happens to Madrid generates many doubts about what happens. If they were missing, it would also occur in other communities,” they analyze from the Workers’ Commissions. The union points out that their “feeling is different” and they relate the problems to “the lack of storage infrastructure” in the health centers, which are no longer vaccinating.
The latest data update from the Ministry of Health also reveals that Madrid has more than 600,000 vaccines in the fridge. The Ministry does not specify how many vials it has not put in, but it advances that it received 250,000 new doses this Monday, in addition to the 100,000 that were left. The breakdown of the brand of each of the units is not provided in the Ministry’s figures.
A margin of up to 42 days between doses
Do delays in the administration of the second dose make the vaccine less effective? The counselor has clarified that the European Medicines Agency includes in the Pfizer technical sheet a margin of up to 28 days between doses, which can go up to 42. “We always try to be as close to 21. The technical sheet itself states that It can be until the 28th and sometimes and it has been taken higher, “he argued. The Community of Madrid asks for “patience” and recommends waiting for Salud Madrid to inform you by message of the date of the second dose “24 or 48 hours” before administering it.
The testimonies collected by elDiario.es are repeated. Patients, in the absence of information, go to health centers, hospitals or contact the 900 information telephone number set up by the Ministry of Health to manage medical matters related to Covid-19. “If the guards and the administration units were collapsed, now more so, because people come and we have a difficult answer. You cannot explain much more to them,” says Sergio Fernández Ruiz, head of public sectors at Comisiones Obreras Sanidad Madrid. On the phone, operators are confirming patients their next appointment with a certain delay compared to what was expected, although they have not notified it yet.