Nth 180 degree turn in the Spanish vaccination strategy. The Ministry of Health now proposes to postpone the second dose of Pfizer and Moderna prophylaxis up to 8 weeks among people under 80 years of age to increase the rate of immunization, although the protection is not complete, as is being done in other very advanced countries in inoculations such as Israel or the United Kingdom
The department headed by Carolina Darias has proposed this cradical change in vaccination strategy in a document sent to the Public Health Commission to be debated and approved this Tuesday in an extraordinary meeting, which will take place on the same day that the European Medicines Agency (EMA) also issues its new opinion on the safety of the vaccine of Janssen after the episodes of thrombi in the United States.
If the proposal goes ahead, the second dose of the two prophylaxis would be inoculated after 56 days. So far, Pfizer’s second puncture occurs 21 days after the first and Moderna’s 28 days.
The expansion of the space between doses is a new and unexpected swerve from the Ministry of Health in this convulsive campaign. Wednesday of last week, Darias herself unceremoniously rejected In the Interterritorial Council of the National Health System the request of the communities of Madrid, Catalonia and Madrid to extend the inoculation of Pifzer and Moderna up to 42 days, a practice that already has the approval of the EMA and that in the European Union they have already launched France or Italy.
Carolina Darias ruled out this possibility because, she said, the increase in vaccine arrivals during the second quarter will make it unnecessary to have to postpone the second dose. «The most vulnerable groups must have the maximum protection “, said the minister, who less than a week ago said that her department’s reports only give 50% protection with a single dose of Pfizer or Moderna.
However, now everything has changed. The document sent to the community experts by the general director of Public Health Pilar Azcárraga It does defend the benefits of the separation of the inoculations that the minister denied on Wednesday of last week. «The separation of the doses in the regimen of messenger RNA vaccines (Pfizer and Moderna) will make it possible to increase the number of people protected with a first dose of vaccine without delaying too much the achievement of the complete regimen, which ensures maximum protection in the medium and long term”. According to the new position of Health, “An extended interval between doses results in higher levels of antibodies and a longer duration of protection”.
Experts reach that conclusion using a mathematical model with an imaginary Spanish city of 500,000 inhabitantss hit by the fourth wave and in which it is chosen in a first case to maintain the current separation of 21 or 28 days or increase it to 56. «Comparing both strategies, and in a situation of a potential fourth epidemic wave, the separation of the doses achieve a reduction between 22% and 26% of infections, between 26% and 31% of hospitalizations and between 30% and 32% of deaths, depending on the magnitude of the epidemic wave ”, ditch Public health.
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