Tuesday, May 24

Progress in vaccinating thirty-somethings, key to controlling the pandemic: it is one of the most active groups

Spring is over and with it, almost, the mass vaccination of the elderly against COVID-19. Only the second doses of those between 60 and 69 are missing, because their reference vaccine is AstraZeneca / Oxford and it has a very long interval between punctures. Those over 70 have the complete pattern almost at 100%, those aged 50-59 reach 63%; and all the communities advance with those of 40-49. So, in the national strategy by age, it is the turn of those under 40, the generation called ‘millennial’, those born between 1980 and 1995. From 39 and below. The communities can overlap them with the remaining older ones, so they have already been with them in Catalonia, the Canary Islands, Navarra, the Balearic Islands and Castilla-La Mancha, and in the autonomous cities of Ceuta and Melilla. Those that have not yet done so plan to start in early July. Pfizer / BioNTech and Moderna, the two messenger RNA technology drugs, will be used with this cohort. And they are expected to flock, as have their fathers, mothers, and grandparents.

The reasons why in Spain there has been less reluctance to vaccines

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Why are 18-39 year olds important? The lethality of the virus among them is very low, in the Carlos III Health Institute reports that take the cases of the entire pandemic, it is not even representative (about 200 deaths among the 50,000 registered since June 2020). But “as long as we do not vaccinate the entire population, the virus continues to circulate. The logical thing was that the first would be those who suffer from a serious illness, but then we must continue with the few, to cut transmission”, explains José Antonio Forcada, president of the Nursing and Vaccine Association, part of the national plan. Besides that, although few, “we have seen 30-year-old patients in the ICU,” says María José García, spokesperson for the SATSE nursing union. The strategy is by age, and it included only a few (about 350,000) vulnerable people with serious pathologies, so almost all young people, whatever their condition, will be inoculated at the same time, except for those who already were in the spring for having a job considered essential.

Vaccination, by age group, in each community

Percentage of the population of each age group that has received at least one dose of the Covid-19 vaccination or the complete schedule, out of the total population of that group

Source: Ministry of Health

The true importance of this group is that they are a group with a lot of mobility and social interaction. The multiple outbreak from a student trip to Mallorca –although with even younger people– shows how these groups can act as vectors of the disease.

Forcada comments that he would have been in favor of even targeting their vaccination before those aged 40-49, because among those aged 40-49 the risk of death is also very low “and those aged 18 to 40 are more mobile. You just have to see what has happened with the Mallorca outbreak, which is going to bring problems, “insists the health worker. As long as there are unvaccinated people, continues this vaccinologist nurse, the virus will continue to circulate, and although there is not so much danger among young people, “they may continue to infect, especially older people whose immune systems have failed and have not produced immunity.”

The percentage of people in this circumstance is only 5 or 10% of those punctured, given the high efficiency, especially of Pfizer, “but they become a not so negligible number if the virus remains uncontrolled,” he adds. And also, the crucial challenge for these days is to complete with the second dose of AstraZeneca / Oxford to those over 60 pending, who do not have full immunization and are still partially exposed to the virus. Some communities are considering offering a second dose of Pfizer, of which there is more supply.

In the scientific community there is some debate about whether to vaccinate children and adolescents, who are not in danger of critical infection, rather than donate doses to countries, especially in Latin America and Africa, which continue with their elderly, vulnerable and sanitary without cover. There has not been so much debate with young people. With the European objective of reaching 70% of the total citizenship before the end of the summer, and the advantages to mobility that the green COVID ‘passport’ will give, almost nobody considers, or dares to propose, that it is not protected as soon as possible to this group. “We must work on both lines: make calls for solidarity, but also immunize the maximum adult population and that the risk in Spain ends,” they say from SATSE.

More rejection among this population? Not for now

Nurses and male nurses continue to set records. One in three Spaniards already has a dose and this Thursday 733,245 were put in 24 hours. It is thanks to their work and that the supply from the European Union has increased over the months, but also to the good response of the citizens: almost no one misses the appointment, almost 100% of the elderly have attended. Some experts fear that this will change slightly with young people, as they have less perception of risk. But only slightly. For now, it is not being observed that vaccine rejection increases as the age cohorts decrease, they report from the Ministry of Health. There has been a small delay with the milestone of 15 million immunized, which the Government expected for last week and this has been, but they attribute it to the shipments of Janssen / Johnson & Johnson, not to a slowdown or to the fact that there are more negatives.

“Each group is different. A process that was relatively simple and easy to control was the residences. You had the people there, concentrated and traceable. When we went to vaccinate at home, too. This is a group that moves more, it is always a bit more problematic, we are also going at a different speed “, says María José García, from SATSE. “There is always a risk that with a younger age there will be more rejection”, points out José Antonio Forcada, “because adolescents and young people have less perception of risk. But I also hope that the percentage is low and there are no problems, because there is a A key factor is that mobility is going to be conditioned to being vaccinated. ” That is, with the green COVID passport that they give with the vaccination, and with a foreseeable future in which they ask for a complete guideline for some activities, refusals are not expected as something common. “There are deniers,” Forcada ends, “but there are not so many, and they will have to provide PCR all the time for everything if they do not want a vaccine, with its price.”

One word for this part of the campaign: self-citation

The key piece to complete this group will be the self-citations. Several communities are already implementing it and others foresee it. Millennials have to get vaccinated in the middle of the summer period, between July and August, and that makes it difficult in some cases to organize.

“Vaccination must be ensured with self-appointments. And if it is automatic appointment, it can be changed by calling without problems. That is the system, not vaccinating at the vacation spot, which only complicates people’s existence: having to do the Displacement procedures, that the centers have to recalculate the staff and the number of doses … and much less, that of making an appointment at 5 in the morning, as they have said for the Zendal “says Forcada. María José García declares something similar: “The important thing is that the rhythm is not interrupted, as when some appointments were canceled due to the confusing information about AstraZeneca. That it is a real and adjusted citation, to which people can go. The self-appointment helps to that “. Because when a person chooses his time and day, it is easier for him not to fail later: “Only memory can fail there. It is not that it matters so much to skip the appointment, nobody is going to be left without vaccinating because at a given moment he could not go, it will be put later. What matters are wasted time. That is why we do appeal to responsibility: if at the last minute you cannot go, you have to call, notify and change it, so that no gap is left “.