Health confirms that there will be a fourth dose of the covid vaccine for the entire population

The Minister of Health, Carolina Darias, stated this Thursday that “there will be a fourth dose” of the covid vaccine “for the entire population”, probably “around the fall”. The minister made her statement during an interview on La Sexta, in which she added that “the Public Health Commission has already decided so.” Darias’ words have generated some confusion because what the Public Health Commission agreed last week was to administer the fourth dose only to the most vulnerable people, especially those who live in residences and are over 80 years old, and not to the population general. Sources from the Ministry clarify that it will not be “around the fall”, as the minister has said, but that it will be “gradually, as they have been happening so far”. No country in the world has decided to administer a fourth dose to the entire general population

“Coronavirus, Minister, will there be a dose for the entire population?” Darias was asked on the program Red Hot. And the minister has responded: “There will be a fourth dose for the entire population. This has already been decided by the Public Health Commission [sic]. Now what remains to be decided is when. Probably, a date that can be shuffled as possible is around the fall, and also because we are waiting for those dates the arrival of new vaccines adapted to variants, as it is in the contracts that we have signed the Government of Spain through the European Union with the pharmaceutical companies”.

Fourth dose for vulnerable population

On June 2, the Public Health Commission approved a new booster dose of the covid vaccine for the most vulnerable population, although it did not set when it will be done. A week later, he approved it for people over 80 and residents in residences. However, Health warned then, they are not going to be administered yet. “The most appropriate time should be established according to the epidemiological situation,” the ministry said in a statement. 92.4% of those over 70 years of age already have the third dose. In their day they received two punctures from Pfizer or Moderna, which initially completed the pattern and a booster dose last fall.

No country in the world has decided to administer a fourth dose of the coronavirus vaccine to the entire general population. Israel did, starting in January with those over 60 years of age and immunosuppressed patients. The results of the measurement, recently published in the prestigious scientific journal The New EnglandJournal of Medicine, revealed that this puncture protected the most vulnerable against infection and, above all, against severe disease. Although the protection obtained was short-lived and largely disappeared in about two months.

The United States also recommends the fourth dose for those over 50 years of age and immunosuppressed, although in this case it does not consider that vaccination of a younger and healthier population has a favorable risk-benefit balance. All the experts consulted maintain this same position.

The vaccine being injected so far is produced from the original lineage discovered in Wuhan. Since then, there have been mutations that have been escaping this prophylaxis: although it has maintained good levels of protection against severe disease, it has been increasingly lower in the face of infection, something that not only happens because of the new variants, but due to the gradual decrease in antibodies in the body over the months.

Despite the improvement in the epidemiological situation, every day dozens of people continue to die in Spain from covid. It is difficult to quantify the exact number due to delays in notifications, but if you look at the statistics from two weeks ago, now that these figures are consolidating, they added up to more than fifty deaths per day. The number of deceased over 80 years of age has risen to 69.1% of all deaths, according to data from the Carlos III Health Institute, when two months ago they represented 62.8% of the total.

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