Argentine Health Minister Carla Vizzotti has admitted over this past weekend that third doses of coronavirus vaccines were under consideration to face the surge in cases of Delta variant.
The official also pointed out that although vaccination at this point was not mandatory, those who choose to be injected should be eligible for rewards over those who avoid taking the jab.
After ten consecutive weeks of decline in coronavirus, Vizzotti spoke in a broadcast interview of “third doses” and of periodic vaccinations among risk groups.
There are different scenarios. There are countries that applied vaccines that had a lower efficacy - it was very good because if they had not had a worse scenario - and now they have a much faster need than Argentina to think of some reinforcement to complement the immunity of that vaccine that is 50% effective, Vizzotti said.
She also explained that these scenarios are particular and different from Argentina's and she added that vaccination for this type of respiratory virus not only do not generate immunity to prevent infection 100%, but also do not have such a long duration in the time, meaning that whichever protection they give wanes away with the passing of the months, as is the case with the flu vaccine which is given on a yearly basis.
Hence, Vizzotti admitted that thinking about periodic vaccinations is something that was always on the agenda, especially in people who have a higher risk of having complications or people who have a less robust immune system. So, a strategic population will surely need a reinforcement and that is not because vaccines do not work or are not good, but because it is the logic in relation to respiratory diseases and vaccines.
She added that it is something that we are evaluating after this stage of vaccination of prioritized adolescents, adolescents in general and second doses.”
The Minister acknowledged the issue was to be addressed “this coming week.”
After the slight improvement in restrictive conditions decreed by President Alberto Fernández last Friday, Vizzotti underlined the country's plans for the near future regarding COVID-19.
We have to advance the second doses in August...,” but “it is not that the pandemic is over, but that we are in a new stage in which we change the parameters.
Vizzotti also boasted that “we are already delaying the entry of the Delta; it is an achievement that we are not putting enough value on. Variants compete for circulation and we have to 'root' for Manaus, in reference to the fact that Delta (of India) was far more dangerous than the other strains circulating in the country.
Regarding the so-called “refuseniks” (or people who willingly decline the possibility of receiving anticovid vaccination) Vizzotti admitted measures were also under evaluation. If an alarm situation is reached, clearly vaccinated people are going to have more benefits than those who are not. She added that whoever decides to get vaccinated must have an advantage.
Making vaccination mandatory remains a possibility, to which Vizzotti admitted “we do not rule it out.
“For those who chose not to get vaccinated, we are going to work to strengthen confidence. The vaccine is not mandatory at the moment, due to urgency and because the supply does not meet the needs of demand. We aim for the majority of people to decide to get vaccinated,” the Minister explained.
We have to know that this virus has come to stay. You have to know that the virus will not disappear and we will continue to have deaths,” she added. “We have 100 cases identified with the delta variant. We have delayed the community circulation of the delta variant. By no means do we have a predominant circulation of the delta variant.”
Regarding restrictions to entry of travelers from abroad, Vizzotti maintained that the measure “was successful, controls could be generated through the entry corridors. The intention is to increase the daily income limit to the country to 2,300 without reducing the controls and efforts on the delta variant.”
She then pointed out that there is a turning point thanks to the progress of the vaccination campaign and celebrated that “for the eighth consecutive week the number of daily deaths is decreasing” in addition to a fall in coronavirus cases for 10 consecutive weeks.