“The obligation “to vaccinate against Covid” will make sense as long as the virus circulates, and I have the impression that it will last for years. I would like to emphasize that it is not just about the individual, but about the whole community and the only way out of the pandemic. For example, the over-50s are 27 million, of which almost 2 million are unvaccinated. The latter, 7%, represent 70% of those in intensive care. It is not just a problem for them, but for hospitals and other sick people who do not find a place ” Sergio Abrignani, member of the technical-scientific committee for the coronavirus emergency and full professor of Immunology at the State University of Milan, the various obligations, such as that for those over 50 at work, are still useful. “In my opinion, yes, but these are political choices that I do not enter. From a scientific point of view I can say that vaccination is a fundamental tool. Then I was obliged when it wasn’t there, let alone now”, he explains in an interview with ‘La Stampa’.
Since the first Covid patient in Italy was discovered in Codogno in the Lodigiano on 20 February 2020 “the Western world has experienced an unprecedented stress test, which has highlighted the strengths and weaknesses of our social, health and economic system “, reflects the director of the Invernizzi National Institute of Molecular Genetics. “Two epochal years that mark a before and after in the history of at least this century. In 2020, the average life span was shortened by one year”, he continues, and “we have rediscovered the fragility towards infectious diseases, which we thought would remain a problem of the developing world and instead in 2020 more than 10% of deaths in Italy were due to Covid. Fortunately, in the event of a new pandemic we will not be unprepared – hopes the CTS exponent – also because we have understood the usefulness of the research “. For Abrignani, “years of fighting infectious diseases teach” that “it remains important to continue vaccinating both in Italy and abroad to contain the spread of the virus and its variants”.
As for the vaccination of children, “the virus has not disappeared and the scientific societies of pediatrics strongly recommend it. They are the same doctors who consult when children are sick, and now they are thought to lie for a world conspiracy. Surreal”, observes the immunologist who also takes stock of the fourth dose: for a booster intended as “a fourth dose with the same vaccine of the Wuhan strain, as tested in Israel, the data at the moment do not support the advantage. vaccinations of the past we have seen that three doses are enough, two doses 3-4 weeks apart and the third after 4-12 months, guaranteeing an immune memory for 5 to 10 years “.
They could benefit from a fourth dose “rare cases of immunosuppressed for genetic, pharmacological or infectious reasons, or dialysis. For them it is hoped with the fourth dose to induce at least a short-term protection”. For the rest of the population “the recall would be a new dose after the current three, but we do not yet know if, how and when it will be necessary”, Abrignani specifies.
Three possible avenues, he lists: “The first, unlikely, is that the virus disappears and at that point no recalls would be needed. The second, less unlikely, but difficult given Omicron’s record-breaking infectivity, is that a new variant forces us to update the vaccines. The third is that the current variant remain. In the latter case, a booster could be considered with an updated vaccine to Omicron that perhaps also very effectively prevents infection as well as disease. possibility, difficult for me, that the third dose does not last long and then a fourth would be needed with the current vaccine “. What to do will be decided “by monitoring protection from the disease in the field. If it decays for some reason, it would be time for a recall. So far the third dose holds, it lasts at least 5 months even if in the end it will probably be much longer – the expert believes. – The important datum is the protection from the disease, because it is not well known how much the antibodies are related to immunity. “several years, but I’m ready to be proved wrong”.
As for the fears about the adverse effects of vaccines, they are “all irrational fears – assures the CTS immunologist – The only fact is that in young people there may be rare non-serious myocarditis that can be cured in a few days with cortisone. All regulatory agencies say. that the risk of myocarditis from viruses is greater than from vaccines. Out of billions of people vaccinated, including hundreds of millions under 30 years of age, no one has died from this reason “. The arrival of Novavax, a “more traditional, recombinant protein-based” vaccine, “may perhaps convince the unreasonably doubtful like some parents who fear for their children. Scientifically it will be useful to compare the duration of its protection with that of vaccines. mRna, even if I don’t think there will be a difference “.
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