Buenos Aires – Given the delay in the emergency approval of the Russian vaccine Sputnik-V by the World Health Organization (WHO), Argentine Health Minister Carla Vizzotti confirmed this morning that the government will authorize the application of a fourth dose of the coronavirus vaccine for those who have to travel to countries that do not accept the inoculation developed by the Gamaleya Institute. Diverse opinions among specialists.
The Minister clarified that this fourth dose is not indicated for health and is not recommended by the Ministry of Health, but this will apply to those who present a ticket and agree to sign the consent.
- Who are they for? Those who must travel for work, health, studies, religious or recreational reasons and have received three doses of Sputnik-V, or two doses of Sputnik-V plus a WHO-approved vaccine and need to follow this schedule.
- What should we present? You must accredit a ticket and sign the consent.
- For which countries is it necessary? The United States and most European countries require a full vaccination schedule with WHO-approved doses.
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“Right now, knowing that it was going to happen at the end of February, we approve the application of the fourth dose in people who must travel, present the ticket, whether for personal, family, humanitarian, professional, religious, study or leisure reasons,” Vizzotti told Radio Con Vos.
Moreover, he clarified that “the decision of countries not to approve a vaccine that has been proven to be safe and effective is embarrassing. But the people are not to blame. From Argentina, as we have a stock of vaccines, we are activating the WHO-approved dose for those who need it.” However, he clarified that this fourth dose has no health indication and is not recommended by the national health ministry.
- Who has already received the fourth dose? Vizzotti explained that to date there is already a segment of the population that is activated for a fourth dose and these are those whose initial scheme requires three doses and, after the recommended time, they can already receive a booster.
What do the specialists think?
Jorge Geffner, immunologist and researcher at Conicet, tells Bloomberg Line that “does not agree” with the application of a fourth dose, except in cases “having a particularly relevant motivation, very far from what a tourist trip could represent”.
Geffner’s opposition to this decision It has nothing to do with assuming that a fourth dose “might cause a deleterious effect, which will not occur at all”, but in what “It doesn’t seem like the best destination for the available doses.”
Hugo Pizzi, a renowned doctor specializing in infectious diseases and professor at the National University of Cordoba, also spoke out against it, stressing that “there may be reactions of which we are obviously not yet aware”. He stressed that there is an “absolute reality and that is that there has been unimaginable pressure, basically for those who received Sputnik”.
This pressure led to what Pizzi describes as a “pseudo solution”, “not only do you have to present a ticket and because you have to sign a consent where you disclaim your responsibilities to the government and the vaccine, These are circumstances that I cannot condone, far from it. However, the doctor clarifies that the fourth dose is useful “four months after the third and judiciously used by immunocompromised patients, comorbidities, etc.”
With nuances concerning his colleague, infectious disease doctor Ricardo Teijeiro assured that “in practice this is already happening, we are already proposing people who can travel because we know that Sputnik will not be homologated and it is not fair that people cannot travel, often for personal reasons, works or emergencies. And he concluded that “the resolution is good”. Additionally, he noted that “emergency authorizations are often not scientifically substantiated. Knowing that there is no risk, in this kind of thing you have to be permissive, we are facing a very particular situation.
Elena Obieta, doctor specializing in infectious diseases and head of the service of communicable diseases of the municipality of San Isidro, is more in line with Teijeiro in stating that “If there are vaccines available, anyone who really wants that fourth dose can do it, I don’t think that’s bad.”
The infectiologist points out that the Sputnik vaccine “has proven its enormous usefulness”and the fact that it is not validated by the WHO “complicates a lot” to those who, for various reasons, have to travel.
“It is not an indication from the ministry or the national vaccine commission that people are going to take this fourth dose because they want to travel, but if he wants to do it, he is always free as soon as he signs the consent in which he assumes the potential risk that this could entail”, explains Obieta and concludes that what emerges from different studies is that the fourth dose “It doesn’t add much protection.”
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