The coordinator of the vaccination team against Covid-19 ruled out, on Friday, August 6, the possibility of giving a third dose of the vaccine to the elderly at home, while “there is no scientific evidence” that it is needed.
“There is no scientific evidence at the moment to say that a third dose is needed, and as long as there is no scientific evidence, we should not start to form a picture that something is coming and we should now go for a third dose,” he said.
Speaking to reporters at the end of a visit to the Covid-19 vaccination center in Évora, the task force’s coordinator, Vice Admiral Enrique Gouvia e Mello, noted the need to “wait for the scientific evidence” to make a decision. In response to a question about the possibility of conducting immunity tests in homes, the official resorted to what he said he had heard “from health technicians”, considering that the procedure “may not be enough” to give an idea of the situation.
“Measurement of antibodies may not be enough for us to recognize whether we are protected from the virus or not, because in T cells there is a memory of the virus and T cells in the presence of the virus create antibodies,” he said. She said.
In this sense, Gouveia e Melo highlighted, if the antibodies of a person who “has not been in contact with the virus recently” are measured, they may “do not contain any antibodies”, but this “does not mean that they have no defense against the virus”. virus.”
“Now, I start measuring the antibodies in the population, and if there is no virus, I come to the conclusion that no one is protected, and then I will probably have to vaccinate again, for no reason at all,” he warned.
The coordinator of the “working team” for immunization referred to “studies” on T cells “indicating the exact opposite,” that is, immunity “acquired for a long time, if not life.” “So we have to wait for the development of these studies,” he added.
On active outbreaks of SARS-CoV-2 infection in nursing homes, the official noted that “the vaccine is not 100% effective”, so “the outbreaks appear,” but stressed that “the result is very different from what it was three months ago. “.
“People who die with completed vaccination are a small percentage, and if we look at it, even though they are infected, they do not die from infection,” but “from other complications,” because of age and health status.
According to Vice Admiral Gouvia e Mello, the protection provided by the vaccine is “enormous and it shows,” as the number of people dying now is “about 30 to 40 times less” than in January of this year.
“Is it the virus that is no longer aggressive? No, the virus is more aggressive and spreads faster. It is the result of vaccination,” he stressed, appealing to the Portuguese for “confidence” in vaccines.
On Thursday, health authorities recorded 53 active outbreaks of SARS-CoV-2 infection in nursing homes, according to figures made available that day to Lusa by the Directorate General of Health.
Also speaking to Lusa, on Thursday, the president of União das Misericórdias Portuguezas, Manuel Lemos, suggested that “immunity tests” in homes should be considered and that a third dose of vaccines could be one of the hypotheses the authorities are studying. As France decided, French Head of State Emmanuel Macron announced a third dose campaign aimed at “the weakest and the oldest”.
The COVID-19 pandemic has killed at least 4,274,424 worldwide, among more than 200.1 million cases of the novel coronavirus since the World Health Organization discovered the disease in China in late December 2019, according to an AFP balance based on official data.
In Portugal, since the beginning of the epidemic, in March 2020, 17,422 people died, and 979,987 cases of infection were recorded, according to the Directorate General of Health.
The respiratory disease is caused by the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, which was discovered in late 2019 in Wuhan, a city in central China, and currently with variants identified in countries such as the United Kingdom, India, South Africa, Brazil and Peru.
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