while in Spain Debate continues over fourth dose of flu vaccine coronavirus -following the announcement made by the Minister of Health, Carolina Darias about administering it in autumn to the entire population-, pediatricians warn: the campaign among children from 5 to 11 years old, which started in december, has failed. The minors who have received the complete guideline do not reach 50% and there has been no progress in the last few months. “It hasn’t worked as expected.” so indicates Angel Hernandez Merinomember of the Vaccine Advisory Committee of the Spanish Association of Pediatrics (CAV-AEP) who considers that the reasons should be found out. “It has not been evaluated or discussed open the causes and consequences”, assures the doctor.
With data from last Friday the 17th of Ministry of Health, the last updated report, six months after the start of pediatric vaccination, only 44.4% of children between 5 and 12 years of age have the complete guideline. The figures are away from that 70% of minors that the department headed by Darias intended that, in the spring, they would have received the two punctures. With the same data, only 54.9% of these minors has a dose.
In the case of the complete patternadministration to children presents notable differences between the autonomous communities. Galicia is in front (67.8% of complete pattern), Estremadura (65.3%) and Asturias (61.8%). At the opposite extreme, Melilla (19.1%), Ceuta (24.2%), the Balearic Islands (26.7%) or Catalonia (31%). At a general level, with data from that same Friday, 39,087,670 (92.7%9 of the population over 12 years of age) did already have the complete program. A percentage that, among adults, drops considerably in the case of booster doses (the third): 25,190,614, 53.1% of the population has that third puncture.
Why don’t families vaccinate?
What has happened in the case of children? Dr. Ángel Merino considers that, precisely, what is involved is to analyze it. “In order to address the next steps in the control of the pandemic Starting next fall, it is necessary to analyze the causes and find out the reasons why the majority of families have not accepted the recommendation of health and professional authorities“says the doctor.
The childhood vaccination campaign It started on December 15, 2021, in the middle of the sixth wave of covid. Minister Darias was then pleased with an extraordinary welcome. In total, a group of around of 3.3 million minors -between 5 and 11 years old-, they paraded, first the older ones, through schools, health centershospitals or vaccination centers to receive their doses. However, as the months went by, the pediatricians began to notice that he was not progressing at the expected rate.
The failure of that pediatric campaign It occurs at a time when infections are rising again in Spain. A summer that opens with bad news in terms of the incidence of cases among those over 60 years of age and in which the largest number of hospital admissions in the last four months. The pandemic is becoming strong again thanks to the appearance of new lineages of the mutation that continues to be predominant throughout the country: the Omicron variant.
Since last Friday they have had to be admitted 1,005 patients for reasons related to the coronavirus. With them, the figure now reaches 7,793 patients admitted to Spanish hospitals, 361 of them in the intensive care units. The Community of Madrid, with 1,838 admitted patients, and Catalonia, with 1,733, are, with more than three times as many as the third and Andalusia, with 547, They are the communities with the most cases.
Advance first in minors
In this scenario of new waves, the concern That reigns among pediatricians about the lack of progress in the pediatric campaign has been going on for months. Hence, like other experts, they were taken by surprise by the announcement made last week that, probably in the fall, a fourth dose of the covid vaccine would be given to the entire population. An announcement later nuanced by his own department, since, finally, as approved by the Public Health Commission, for now it will only be those over 80 who receive that second booster dose.
In this section, Dr. Angel Merino considers that “the minister’s announcement is an important error, for two reasons. The subsequent, timid and incomplete correction. Firstly, because her statement is time-barred, since neither the Report nor the Public Health Commission (CSP) have addressed formally the issue and, therefore, they have not made a statement. The head of the Ministry has the last word, but must listen to the technical bodies, which, as has been said, have not made a statement,” he says.
Second, because “so far no evidence available recommend such a measure. New doses of the available mRNA vaccines only bring improvements to the short-lived immune responses and effectiveness. It is not expected that new doses will provide benefits in the general population.” On the other hand, he adds, it is known that pharmaceutical Pfizer&BioNTech Y modernand other research teams, “are working on the adaptation of their vaccines, incorporating antigenic determinants of the recent viral variants”.
In summary, he adds, the next steps in the strategy of control of the pandemic, and specifically the use of the already available vaccines or others adapted to Ómicron, are not determined, and new data and studies are needed to clarify them. “One direction in which to move is in the discrimination of population groups according to risk levels and establish different guidelines for each of them. People over 60-70 years and those with risk factors for comorbidities (immunosuppression, etc.) may need booster dosebut the general population, probably not”, concludes the doctor.