Health and communities agree to make the administration of prophylaxis against covid coincide with that of influenza
The Public Health Commission agreed on Tuesday to inoculate the third dose of Pfizer to the 6.5 million residents in Spain who are over 70 years old and as long as at least 6 months have elapsed since their last inoculation against COVID. The agreement of Health and community technicians is to begin throughout the country on October 25 with the massive inoculation of this age cohort, which is considered the most vulnerable, to then continue with the almost 2.5 million people between 65 and 69 years old.
Despite the tricky nature of this issue, there was no consensus. Twelve territories voted in favor, five abstained and another two, Madrid and Galicia, voted against. And this only hours after the European Medicines Agency (EMA) authorized without nuances on Monday the 27-year-old authorities to administer the booster dose to any person of legal age six months after completing the full regimen, whatever be the formula that was inoculated in principle.
The Carolina Darias team and the related communities, however, did not want to go as far as the EMA in their attempt to generalize the souvenir dose to the entire population. They agreed to remain calm and resume the design of the original vaccination campaign. In other words, prioritizing the re-immunization of the older age groups. And from there, little by little down.
To start this new wave of injections, the autonomous regions currently have more than 4 million doses of the Pfizer / BionTech formula in their refrigerators and, above all, with the commitment of the pharmaceutical giant that there will be no problem to supply in the next six months of doses for the ‘booster’ puncture (souvenir) to the more than 35 million Spaniards over 18 years of age who have completed (or are in the process) of completing the full schedule.
In Spain, until now, this booster dose was reserved exclusively for people with solid organ transplants, hematopoietic stem cell transplant recipients, patients receiving anti-CD20 drugs or very high-risk immunosuppressive treatments and those residents in senior centers.
The decision of this Tuesday of the Public Health Commission – which must be endorsed this Thursday by the Interterritorial Council of the National Health System (CISNS) – in practice means accepting that public health will be able this fall to face a simultaneous campaign: vaccination against covid and against influenza.
And it is that the Vaccine Conference has already announced that the massive inoculation against influenza in Spain will begin in mid-October among the oldest, only 10 days before the third prick against the covid. Health and community experts – and they made it clear this Tuesday – are more than convinced that there will be no problem in overlapping both prophylaxis (in a single appointment), especially after the first large study on the combination of both formulas – the one from the University of Bristol Trial Center – concluded that mixing both pricks not only does not trigger new unknown side effects, but also does not alter the effectiveness of the vaccines.
This double and imminent vaccination campaign – they insist from Health and the Conference – would affect in Spain practically all of the more than 6.5 million inhabitants who are over those 70 years, since in those age groups the deniers do not they reach even 1% of the population.
With this panorama, in the Ministry of Health, now the biggest challenge is logistics. Or what is the same answer to two questions: At what point to start defrosting the 4 million doses of Pfizer that are in the warehouses of the autonomous communities and Health? And with what pace to ask Pfizer to supply the others with just over 5 million injectables that would be missing for the third puncture for the older population?
Whatever the answer to those two questions, those responsible for the Public Health Commission insisted this Tuesday on the conviction that, given the “solidity” shown by the National Health System in the current vaccination campaign of the first two doses, the communities will have “absolutely no problem” being able to inoculate the additional dose of Pfizer to everyone over 70 years before the end of the year.
That Health and the autonomies were going to agree to start as soon as possible the new campaign of Pfizer’s third prick had been sung for weeks. On September 16, an internal report from the Public Health Commission – in which the third prick was given the green light to people with very high-risk immunosuppressive treatments and residents in senior centers – the ministry bluntly assured that ” there is evidence in countries in our environment of loss of effectiveness conferred by a complete schedule of vaccines against covid over time, especially in older people ”.
On July 23, Carolina Darias herself, in a radio interview already assured that “everything seems to indicate that we will have to put a third dose”, while taking for granted that this memory was going to be annual and that it would be a messenger RNA prophylaxis like Pfizer. It so happens that the European Commission in May closed a contract with this giant of 1.8 billion euros for the supply of vials until 2023.