Booster dose: only 42% of Argentines have the booster dose

Argentina entered the fourth wave of coronavirus with 87.6% of its population vaccinated with at least one dose and 79.7% with the complete schedule, figures similar to those of the most advanced countries. But before the circulation of Omicron subvariantswhich will dominate this new stage of the pandemic, at least one booster dose is necessary and there the country is in debt: only the received 42.6% of the population.

These are data calculated by TN based on information from the Ministry of Health.

The scenario worries the specialists who insisted that the vaccination campaign should be speeded up, but fundamentally of awareness. A false sense of security has been installed since the third wave rapidly and exponentially increased infections without threatening the health system.

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According to official sources, TN, there are 12 million people able to receive the booster dose who have not yet done so. But the situation is not homogeneous throughout the country. While some jurisdictions are close to 70% of their population that has already agreed, others do not exceed 20%.

Booster vaccination map throughout the country. Photo: TN

According to the Minister of Health of the province of Buenos Aires, Nicolás Kreplakthe subvariant of the Ómicron that already circulates in Argentina “is 30% more contagious”for which he agreed with the specialists that it is necessary for “everyone takes the third dose” and that “those who are 50 years old and four months have passed since their third dose, should receive the fourth.”

Slow progress in the application of booster doses

The advance of Vaccination stopped almost simultaneously with the drop in infections at the end of the third wave. As recognized by specialists and health officials, the fear of the disease increases every time the cases grow, and at the same time the number of people wanting to be vaccinated increases.

When the cases began to rise in early December of last year, so did the demand for appointments for vaccination. Meanwhile in the first days of January more than 500,000 daily doses were appliedthat figure fell to just 130,000 in the last few days.

In the Ministry of Health they trust that the growth of infections that is beginning, added to the awareness campaignallow double that figure before winter arrives.

The third dose is not the same as the booster dose

For most of the population, the first booster dose corresponds to the third vaccination appliedbut for those over 50 years who received two sera from Sinopharm, the third vaccine that was applied completed the initial schedule; that is, to consider that they already have the first booster should receive a fourth vaccine. In those cases, the records of the Ministry of Health consider the third dose as additional and not as a booster.

For those over 50 initially vaccinated with two doses of Sinovac, the booster corresponds to the fourth dose applied.  Photo: Reuters
For those over 50 initially vaccinated with two doses of Sinovac, the booster corresponds to the fourth dose applied. Photo: ReutersFor: REUTERS

That is one of many confusions that are generated, given that for those under 50 years of age vaccinated with two Sinopharm, the third component that received is already considered a reinforcement, but not so for the older ones.

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Other confusions have to do with the Deadlines that must elapse since you had coronavirus to apply the first booster. The indicated time is 14 days from discharge from the disease, however, the infection provides protection for at least three months.

How is the coverage of vaccination with booster doses throughout the country

The City of Buenos Aires is the district that applied the most first booster doseswith a coverage of 69.9% of its population. The country average barely reaches the 42,6%with 19,793,510 people inoculated in total.

Only the CABA, The Pampa (63,4%), saint Louis (62,3%), Santa Fe (50,7%), Catamarca (46,3%), Neuquen (44,8%), Buenos Aires (44,4%) y The Rioja (44,1%) exceed the national average. The remaining 16 provinces are below.

Province by province, percentage of vaccinated with booster doses according to the registry of the Ministry of Health.  Photo: TN
Province by province, percentage of vaccinated with booster doses according to the registry of the Ministry of Health. Photo: TN

Missions It is the province with the least progress, with only 17.2% of its population who completed the two-dose schedule of the coronavirus vaccines and received an additional booster.

What complicates the situation is that, in addition, more than 25% of its population did not receive even one vaccine from the start of the campaign.

The youngest, the least vaccinated

Since its inception, the vaccination campaign has focused on the elderly, who make up the main risk groups. Later, it was extended to those who had some pre-existing diseaseuntil covering everyone over 3 years old.

Something similar happened with the application of the booster doses, but either by confidencefor false security or by have been infectedmany of whom should have already completed all three doses they haven’t done it yet.

Percentage of vaccinated by third dose and by type of vaccine.  Photo: TN
Percentage of vaccinated by third dose and by type of vaccine. Photo: TN

Between the young people between 18 and 29 years old, barely 35.4% received the booster dose, and among those 30 to 39 yearsthat figure rises to 48,5%. On the contrary, those who came closest to receiving this vaccine, which became so important to more robustly face the fourth wave of coronavirus, was the group of 70 to 79 years, that already has a coverage of the 83,8% of its population. They are followed by those who have between 60 and 69 years, with the 77.2 percent.

These data were calculated by TN from crossing the vaccination information of the Ministry of Health with the population estimates of the Indec.

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Booster dose coverage reaches barely half of people of active working age, a situation that must be reversed if the fourth wave is to be overcome in conditions similar to the third: with growth in infections, but without stressing the health system nor mourn more deaths.

Infographic design: Lucila Stolar