The Argentine province of Tierra del Fuego, which technically includes the Falkland Islands and other British Overseas Territories, has achieved herd immunity against COVID-19, Health Minister Carla Vizzotti announced Thursday.
Tierra del Fuego has already managed to vaccinate 93% of its population over 18 years of age with a first dose and 72% with a complete scheme, Fuegian Health Minister Judith Di Giglio pointed out during the announcement alongside Vizzotti and Deputy Governor Mónica Urquiza from the provincial capital of Ushuaia.
Di Giglio also explained the province has an estimated population of about 177,000, but made no reference to the South Atlantic territories. Except for children, 71% [of Fuegians have] received at least one dose and 56% [have] completed [their] immunization treatment, she added.
The provincial minister also noted 97% of people within risk groups, aged 60 or over, “have already been vaccinated with both doses.
Vizzotti highlighted the importance of the work carried out by the province to reach this result. She also underscored the relief it brings for health care teams. Verifying that in Tierra del Fuego there are only three people hospitalized in intensive care for coronavirus, seeing the decrease in the levels of mortality and infections, are concrete evidence that so much effort has been worth it, she said.
She added that the herd immunity achieved by the province will decrease viral circulation but will not interrupt it, although an even greater decrease in severe cases is expected. With these vaccines, interrupting viral circulation is impossible, but serious cases and deaths decrease, and the possibility of infection also decreases. Vaccines have a collective impact. They are supportive, they benefit those who apply it and those around them, the federal mister went on.
Vizzotti also said vaccination was very advanced throughout the country, and mentioned that currently 87% of those over 18 years of age have already received the first dose and 62% have completed the scheme.
She also noted that an approaching Summer would give the government some more time gave with valued as an incentive that, in the case of Argentina, to continue advancing in vaccination and to continue analyzing different strategies.
The important thing to say is that the pandemic is not over, that we must continue working and taking care of ourselves, and that the situation will not be resolved until most countries manage to advance in their own vaccination campaigns, Vizzotti underlined.
Vizzotti also defended the federal government's resolution lifting a mandatory wearing of face masks while walking alone down the street because it generates zero epidemiological risk. Nevertheless, the Autonomous City of Buenos Aires has determined the advise fron national authorities -from an opposing political party- would not be followed.
I do not understand the confusion that is not ours and that has been generated externally to the Government. It is as simple as saying that people who walk down the street without a mask, or stand in a park with no one around, in no way suppose a risk for other people or society, Vizzotti insisted, as she likened the situation to going for a run or going to a restaurant to eat in front of someone without a mask.
None of this has produced an increase in cases and the same is said of going for a walk without a mask. There is no epidemiological risk and we have transmitted it in a very clear way,” she added.
Masks will remain mandatory in the presence of other people as well as in indoor settings.