The director of the Spanish Agency for Medicines and Health Products (AEMPS), María Jesús Lamas, considers it “very unlikely” that a periodic and annual immunization against COVID-19 as occurs with the flu.
The last service of the vaccination centers
In a colloquium at the II Symposium of the Health Observatory, organized by El Español, Lamas explained that covid-19 is a less variable virus than the flu, so “it is not expected that there are mutations so important that there are a dramatic loss of effectiveness in existing vaccines. ” And since this is not likely, according to Lamas “what is going to happen is that once a person is vaccinated, the memory cells will protect them for a long time.”
However, he has admitted that there may be population groups with a “small loss of efficacy of the vaccine due to their risk factors that may have to be revaccinated but, for the moment, what is known is that cellular immunity confers protection over a long period of time. term”.
Regarding the new strains, he points out that we will have to be vigilant but has assured that “not all the strains that are going to emerge will imply a loss of effectiveness of the vaccine” for which he has insisted that, “probably, none implies a very dramatic loss of effectiveness. ”
Lamas also referred to the suspension of the trial in patients of the CSIC vaccine and explained that this decision was adopted because in the preclinical phase an “uncertain but serious” risk appeared. Now, the researchers have until September 30 to make claims and see if the trial can be resumed but “it is not worth a percentage of risk, it has to be safely discarded.”
The third dose for seniors, coming
Regarding the third dose and what more groups could benefit from the reinforcement, Lamas explained that it is up to Public Health to define the groups, although he recalled that the European Medicines Agency (EMA) and the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) has recommended that the immunosuppressed receive an additional dose, “and to consider in the elderly.”
Regarding this last group, Lamas has stressed that age can determine a loss of efficacy of the vaccines received and, therefore, “an additional dose could enhance it.”
In any case, and although the decision to vaccinate the elderly is pending from the Public Health Commission, Lamas has advanced that “he does not believe they will delay.” He also stressed that more vaccine production is needed “to reach everyone and more research to find out how long immunity lasts in specific groups.” And only 30% of the world population has remembered the full regimen and 40% the first dose.