The Canary Islands Government planned to achieve 70% group immunity on July 31. Why do you think it was not possible to meet this goal?
Basically, by the number of doses. However, we are the community that administers the most vaccines per 1,000 inhabitants. We have reached 76% of the population with the first dose and more than 60% with the complete regimen. We are happy because we have done everything we can with the doses that have arrived. The points are full, the professionals are working beyond their capacities and it is easy to request appointments or to go without them. Therefore, the fact that 70% has not been reached on the scheduled date is not related to the activity carried out by the Canarian Health Service.
Was the possibility of such a high incidence level being considered in summer, despite the progress of the vaccination campaign?
No. Even though we had the experience of the previous summer, I think that no one expected this wave and even less with this behavior.
How do you evaluate the response of the youngest to the call for the campaign?
We are very satisfied. Not only because they are going to get vaccinated, but because of the good behavior they are having. In the surveys, the youngest reflect a good care and the vaccination teams a very good collaboration.
Do you think it will be necessary to administer a third dose of the serums against the coronavirus?
I am not an expert in either epidemiology or clinical trials, but I think it is too early to jump into the pool and guarantee that we will need a third dose. Actually, there is still no robust evidence to claim this. With the studies that exist, that possibility can be contemplated, but I still would not dare to say if it is going to be or not. The FDA – Food and Drug Administration – has not said anything and the European Medicines Agency – EMS – neither. Therefore, we must wait for the experts to pronounce themselves and, in the event that it is necessary to administer it, we are here to continue. There is still a lot of information missing and, above all, to know what the interval would be, to whom would it be intended and in what period it would be appropriate to put it.
“We are happy because we have done everything we can with the doses that have arrived»
Is it true that the more side effects vaccines cause, the more antibodies are generated?
There are people who have a very good immune system and who do not have a significant clinical response after vaccination. It is true that in younger people the immune system is more powerful, as long as they do not suffer associated pathologies or immunodeficiency, but we cannot really say that the person with the highest fever or the most swollen arm has achieved a greater immune response. than the one who has not felt anything.
Today, is it possible to relax prevention measures among people vaccinated with the full schedule?
The latest studies already suggest that, for this to occur, there must be between 80 and 85% of the population immunized. In addition, the Vaccination Strategy says on each of its pages that the fact of being vaccinated does not exempt from continuing with the measures that are in force today and that have guaranteed their effectiveness for the control of the pandemic. The fact of being vaccinated does not mean being free of covid. We are protecting ourselves against the complications of the disease, but not against infection or transmission. Therefore, even if we are vaccinated, we can transmit the disease.
Ángel Víctor Torres announced this week that the regional Executive does not rule out imposing vaccination on all public workers who have not yet accessed the compounds. How do you rate this?
99.9% of health workers, for example, have been vaccinated, so this measure does not affect us at that level. We have given a good response and the behavior has been exemplary. To talk about the rest of the officials, it will be necessary to take stock when the campaign ends. It is still too early to know if some are thinking about it and in a few months they plan to put it on, since the campaign is not over yet.
Some pregnant women are reluctant to access prophylaxis. Can you feel safe inoculating the sera?
Yes. The recommendation made by the Ministry’s National Strategy is that pregnant women, women who are breastfeeding and those who plan to become pregnant should be vaccinated. In these cases they will be given, preferably, messenger RNA vaccines because there are more studies and scientific evidence with these.
“Right now, vaccines are effective for all variants and we are calm»
Is the circulation of new variants a concern for the effectiveness of vaccines?
Not right now, since vaccines are effective for all the variants that have been contemplated. For now, we are calm.
Do you think the population responds better to walk-in vaccination initiatives?
There are people for everything. I think young people are responding very well to walk-in vaccinations, but each formula works differently and it all depends on the person. Therefore, we have decided to offer several possibilities. Right now, the Canary Islands have different options to make an appointment: through 012, the miCitaprevia application or a web form. In the non-capital islands, it is necessary to highlight the proactive nature of the vaccination teams to call and encourage the people who appear on their lists to get vaccinated.
What percentage of people miss their appointments?
Between 4 or 5% at most, but it all depends on the day. There are many points that reach 100%.
Could the fact that outbreaks are already occurring in residences mean that vaccine protection diminishes over the months?
It is logical that the infection reaches the residences. As I have already said, vaccination does not exempt from infection. Our elders are protected, but that does not mean that there is still no possibility of them catching the virus. That is why it is so important to continue maintaining security measures. Vaccines have undoubtedly protected and are protecting the most vulnerable. With them we have achieved something very great: reduce mortality, that they do not enter and that they do not have to be intubated.