SPAIN rides high in the charts for its success in delivering two doses of Covid-19 vaccine to people – Israel is the world leader – but the strategy is being questioned.
According to ‘Our World in Data’ run by Oxford University, 2.4% of the population have received full protection have received two jabs; Israel has managed a third.
While this is a success, the flip side is that every second dose could be administered to another patient – and studies show just a single shot provides a high level of protection.
It has raised questions about the vaccination strategy – the United Kingdom is delaying a second dose of vaccine to give more of the population a defence against the coronavirus. While Spain has administered a higher percentage of the population with a second vaccination, 2.4%; only 3.5% of its people have received a first dose; in the UK, 25% of the population have had at least one shot to date.
The approach by Boris Johnson’s government was first met with scepticism but growing research around the globe is supporting the plan.
A study in The Lancet shows the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is 85% effective in
symptomatic infections after a single shot, and 75% in all cases. The research took place in Tel Aviv and involved 7,000 people.
Earlier two Canadian scientists published an article in the New England Journal of Medicine and argued the Pfizer jab was 92.6% effective after a single dose – and would have helped prevent hospitalisation and fatalities across the United States this winter because of the short-term benefits.
In Spain, Amós García Rojas, president of Spain’s Vaccinology Society, said the new studies must be examined as they are published to decide whether strategy should be tweaked and admitted things could change quickly because of new data.
For the moment he supports the existing protocol laid down by the European Medicines Agency, especially as the arrival of vaccines are expected to arrive more quickly. In the case of Pfizer, the EMA recommends 21 days before administering a second dose, but admits it could be extended to 42 days.
However, Spain has changed its strategy once before. In response to research that showed people who contracted Covid-19 developed a strong immune response, government health chiefs recommended that an individual could wait sic months after diagnosis before receiving a vaccination.