We will live with covid measures for up to two years

In our country, the measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus are further tightened, while large European countries apply one after the other in general or some lockdowns, at least until the end of November, when everyone hopes that there will be some first news from the final results. phase of clinical trials of COVID-19 vaccines, which, if all goes well, are expected to be available early next year.

The goal is clear: to endure the health system that is already under intense pressure from the coronavirus. It is indicative that, in the middle of the week, the coverage rate of COVID-19 intensive care beds was 100% in Western Macedonia and exceeded 60% in Attica and Thessaloniki. And as stated by the professor and head of the Committee of Experts of the Ministry of Health, Sotiris Tsiodras, “we have before us November, a difficult December and maybe an even more difficult January, which carries with it the hope of the vaccine”.

However, even if the hopes are justified, much still separates us from the end of the pandemic. As Theoklis Zaoutis, professor of Pediatrics and Epidemiology at the University of Pennsylvania, USA, points out in “K”, “when we think about what will happen after the release of a vaccine for COVID-19, we should know that at the moment there are some data we do not know. “A key piece of information we need is the effectiveness of the vaccine, that is, whether the vaccine will provide immunity that will last a lifetime or last for a certain period of time and will need to be repeated.” According to Mr. Zaoutis, it is very likely that this vaccine will not provide long-term and complete immunity. “It simply came to our notice then.

Ongoing clinical trials will not be able to answer the duration of the immunity that the vaccine will offer. As the professor points out, “we think we will have some news about the vaccines being tested in late November or December. Since the phase 3 clinical trials started around June, we will have data for a maximum of six months of vaccine administration. However, we must emphasize that, in terms of vaccine safety, most side effects occur either immediately or at the latest one to two months after its administration, so the results for the safety of the vaccine will be sufficient “. So, in the event that immunity does not last long, a universal vaccination of the population, which will really stop the virus, is something utopian,

Transmissibility

Another key question is whether the vaccine will affect the transmission of the virus. “Researchers are currently studying whether it protects against the disease, but we do not know if it will reduce the transmission of the virus. It is very likely to protect against serious illness, but we do not know if transmission from asymptomatic or mild symptoms will stop. And this is exactly the reason why the pandemic will not stop “, underlines Mr. Zaoutis.

“In conclusion,” he said, “a vaccine could reduce mortality from COVID-19 and serious cases, but it is very likely that the virus will continue to be transmitted and some measures will need to be taken.” The estimate is that for another one to two years some kind of non-pharmaceutical protection measures will be applied, whether they involve keeping distance or masks in some closed spaces. A key role in what measures will be taken will be whether we will have fast and cheap tests for the possibility of immediate isolation and tracking of cases. “If one reason the measures are not being implemented today is because there is a sense that a vaccine will come to our rescue, we should know that this is not the case and that the vaccine is not immortal.

 

The vaccination strategy

The availability of vaccines, when we have effective vaccines, will require political will for cooperation and coordination worldwide. At least for the beginning, everyone should agree that specific population groups will be vaccinated first, e.g. high risk of serious disease, so that there is a fairer distribution of the limited quantities of vaccines in the first phase. At the EU Summit Last Thursday on the course of the coronavirus, European leaders agreed to have a sufficient distribution of vaccines for each country according to its population. Earlier this week, the European Center for Disease Control and Prevention released a guide to different approaches – or a combination of them – to the vaccination strategy that each country can follow. The main ones are:

Vaccination of population groups, such as health professionals, people with underlying diseases and socially vulnerable groups.

– Vaccination of older people (a combination of the first two approaches is expected to follow our country).

– Vaccination of population groups that, according to tracking data, appear to be more exposed to the virus (young adults, specific professionals).

– Vaccination of residents of areas with high epidemiological burden and population density.

source – kathimerini.gr

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