Vaccination and vacations? Vaccination or vacation? Just two weeks before July, the first big month of summer, more than 20 million people between 30 and 60 years old are already thinking about how to balance their trips so as not to miss out on receiving the first or second dose. DJing in the summer has become the next great challenge of the Ministry of Health’s immunization campaign, which on this occasion seems to have had time overtaken without clearly developing a plan to reassure the public.
In the Interterritorial Council last Wednesday, Carolina Darias announced that the Public Health Commission is preparing a document that seeks to resolve the doubts, but the minister did not say when it will be presented to the communities. At the earliest, it will be this Wednesday, June 16, and the autonomous regions will only have 15 days to prepare logistics that are expected to be very complicated, mainly in tourist municipalities that multiply their population by up to ten and do not have enough health facilities to cope with a possible flood of vaccinations.
“From the offices, these situations are planned very easily, but on the ground it is much more complicated,” criticizes José Antonio Forcada, president of the National Association of Nursing and Vaccines (Anenvac). “Primary care already has staff problems throughout the year and when summer arrives, health workers also have their vacations, as well deserved as those of the rest of the population. But, in addition, this year they add tasks related to Covid-19, such as tracking, case monitoring and care, “explains Forcada, who believes that, in the current situation,” vaccination at summer resorts will be difficult, and more considering that some communities even propose to inoculate foreigners as well.
They also propose an open calendar that allows the vaccinated to choose between several days to receive their inoculation
“It will be almost impossible to vaccinate in tourist municipalities with few health centers or for the summer communities to take thousands more vaccinations for the displaced. We believe that everything is poorly organized and that there is too much improvisation because this matter was raised a long time ago and no answers have been sought “, adds Lorenzo Armenteros, spokesman for the Spanish Society of General and Family Physicians (SEMG).
But assuming that it is already late, where would a solution now go that would make vaccination compatible with vacations, in general, and health care, in particular, without collapsing the health centers of the most touristy towns? Experts agree on several ideas: planning, flexibility, and common sense.
First, they propose that the communities, in charge of the end of the punctures, open a calendar in which the patient can choose the date of their vaccination on demand. Until now, most communities propose an exact day or give some days of margin, but do not offer the possibility of delaying the puncture, for example, a month, to avoid holidays. “The best thing would be to articulate a system in the community of origin that allows a lot of flexibility,” emphasizes Armenteros.
But this first measure should be linked to another: the creation of a single age group that encompasses all people who have yet to receive a dose or both. «In this way», continues the SEMG spokesman, «if there were no longer 40-year-olds to receive the vaccine, we could automatically continue with 30-year-olds and 20-year-olds. they receive 600,000 people, that no one is left to put. Let’s vaccinate any strip to the maximum and let’s get to the next ones ». “That would help a lot,” says Forcada. “Some communities have already raised a single group between 16 and 40 years old, which allows a margin of maneuver of two weeks,” underlines the president of Anenvac.
And although the specialists remember that the indications on the administration of vaccines must be complied with, Armenteros points out that logic must also be used. “It’s okay if the second dose of Pfizer, instead of being shot at three weeks, is done at four, so that some people are not forced to change their vacations or rush back to get vaccinated.”
Senior EMA Official Suggests Stop Supplying AstraZeneca
A senior official at the European Medicines Agency (EMA) stated, in an interview published yesterday, that it would be preferable to stop distributing the AstraZeneca vaccine against Covid-19 if alternatives are available.
Marco Cavaleri, head of the European regulator’s vaccination strategy, also stated that Janssen should be used preferably for those over 60 years of age, while in Spain it is authorized from 40.
These two vaccines have been linked to rare but serious cases of blood clots. On whether it would not be preferable to ban AstraZeneca, he replied: “It is an option that many countries, such as France and Germany, are considering in the heat of the increasing availability of messenger RNA vaccines.”