The vaccination strategy and the goal of reaching covid-0
This month of February seems to harbour a major change in the evolution of the pandemic thanks to the effect of the restrictions that have been applied so far -which are extended at least one more week- and especially the vaccination of care homes. As we explained yesterday, studies already are beginning to to demonstrate that this has led to a decrease in mortality in these centres between 30% or 40% and 15% or 10%, and has also significantly decreased hospitalisations and, it is expected, infections.
This is very good news that makes us think that when finally, especially after this week, vaccination also begins for those over 80 years of age who live outside the care homes, the number of deaths and seriously ill people will decrease. The fiasco in the arrival of the planned vaccines and the fact that Spain maintains a ban on the AstraZeneca vaccine for those over 55 years of age are delaying this process too much. The Spanish and Catalan strategy, in line with the majority of countries in the European Union, is very protective, especially in comparison with the United Kingdom, and this means that the vaccines take longer to reach the people most at risk, who are the oldest.
It is not out of the question that we will see changes in the future if it is shown that a single dose gives sufficient immunity, as Boris Johnson's government is doing, which also has not set an age limit for the AstraZeneca vaccine. As serious studies are published on what this has meant in the UK, it is possible that the European strategy will be modified. For the moment, with logical prudence and based on what European experts have defined, health systems have find elaborate solutions to try to make vaccines available to the most vulnerable population groups.
The vaccination will be accelerated possibly at the end of spring, when it is expected not only that other vaccines pending approval will be activated but also that the manufacturing problems of those already in operation will have been solved. Achieving the goal of having 70% of the population vaccinated by the end of the summer, i.e. September, is imperative.
It must be done because the mutations of the virus, whose effect is putting all public health systems on alert, may end up bypassing the immunological barriers of the vaccines and make the nightmare start all over again. The more contagions, the more the virus circulates, the more the possibility of new mutations. Hence the fears and the calls not to lower our guard.
And it is in this context that there is increasing talk of the covid-0. If until now we had been told that we will have to learn to live with this virus, today there are voices that are hoping to eradicate it, and some European countries, such as Germany, are beginning to have it on their agenda. At the moment it seems difficult, but we have to work to make it possible in a few months, when there is a reduction of cases that allows us to really implement traceability and isolation properly. It would be important resources and energies were already devoted to this objective.