However, to face a possible eighth wave of COVID-19, the fourth dose of the SARS-CoV-2 vaccine will already be available this September.
As confirmed by the Ministry of Health, this coming Monday, September 26kicks off the campaign second booster doseor fourth dose, in all the autonomous communities and cities at the same time.
The arrival of 44 million doses is expected, adapted to the omicron variant, since the injections of the pharmaceutical companies Pfizer/Biontech and Moderna have been adapted to the different variants of the coronavirus.
But who will be the first to receive the second booster dose against COVID?
Who has to be vaccinated with the fourth dose of COVID?
“The recommendations of the experts is to start vaccination paying special attention to the most vulnerable, that they will receive this new booster dose to have their immunity raised”, explained the Minister of Health, Carolina Darias.
Thus, the fourth dose of the vaccine, which is administered on the same day throughout the country, will begin with the older than 80 years and those who live in residences.
Once this population group is completed, you will continue with the older than 60 yearsthe staff of health centers and those who do not have the complete vaccination schedule.
Until now, and unless the Public Health Commission decides otherwise, the fourth dose against COVID-19 is not indicated for healthy people under 60 years of age.
Hospital admissions for COVID rise: first increase since July
In the midst of a debate on the removal of the mask on public transport, the latest report indicates that hospitalizations have risen for the first time since the beginning of July.
Currently, there are 2,515 COVID patients admitted. And in the Intensive Care Units (ICU), there are 159 people admitted.
The decline in incidence is also slowing down: we have 129 cases per 100,000 inhabitants.
In this sense, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) has already warned that there is no “scientific evidence” to support the need to administer this new booster dose to the general population. However, “after reviewing the data on the increased risk of severe coronavirus in the elderly”, its use is supported in the most vulnerable people.
The first tests that detect COVID and flu arrive
The combined self-diagnosis tests to detect SARS-CoV-2 and influenza A and B viruses are already being marketed in Spanish pharmacies.
As with conventional antigen tests, they are presented in two formats: both nasal and saliva. And with a maximum price of €2.94 per unit.
The sample collection procedure is exactly the same as in the self-diagnostic tests for COVID-19. But, in this case, the interpretation of the results is different, since there are three lines: one for influenza A, another for influenza B and a third for the coronavirus.
How are the new vaccines?
The European Medicines Agency (EMA) has approved the first vaccines for Modern y Pfizer adapted to omicron and its multiple variants: Comirnaty Original/Omicron BA.1 and Spikevax Bivalent Original/Omicron BA.1.
The new bivalent vaccines “may extend the protection against different variants and therefore are expected to help maintain optimal protection.”
The side effects of the ‘pnchazo’ “are mild and short-lived.” Its use is only recommended “in people over 12 years of age who have received at least one primary cycle of vaccination against COVID.”
They are tailored “to better match circulating variants of SARS-CoV-2 and are expected to provide broader protection against the different variants.”
With this approval:
“The arsenal of vaccines available to protect people against COVID-19 continues to expand as the pandemic continues, with new waves of infections anticipated in the fall and winter season.”
And although “it is not possible to predict how the virus will evolve in the future and which variants will circulate this winter”, the new bivalent vaccines are the most effective and safest tool against coronavirus.
Do I have to get vaccinated to go abroad?
Passengers arriving in Spain by air are no longer required to present the COVID passport and complete the health control form, through the application Spain Travel Health.
But this normalization of international mobility does not apply in other countries, where it is still necessary to have the complete vaccination schedule (two doses) with at least two weeks before departure:
- USA. You only need to prove that you are fully vaccinated.
- China. It remains one of the most restrictive countries. The ‘COVID zero’ policy translates into a mandatory COVID passport, PCR tests (2 negative tests), quarantine on arrival (7 days in government-approved accommodation, and an additional three days – at the expense of the tourist – in their own residence or accommodation) and health declaration certificate.
- Japan. It is not necessary to present a negative PCR, but you must have a vaccination passport that reflects that 3 doses of one of the recognized vaccines have been received for this country (Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca and Janssen). All are administered, or have been administered, at some point in Spain.
So, if you intend to travel to any of these three countries, you must have the complete guideline (in Japan with the booster dose) as an essential requirement.
Flu: Will it be more virulent? Do I have to get vaccinated?
The data from Australia, which serves as a model for what the flu season will be like in Europe, has shown us this year an “anomalous” epidemic wave.
According to experts, it has been the worst in the last five years. And, above all, with a special incidence in children aged 5 to 9 years.
“It is very likely that we will have to face the same situation in Spain,” says the virologist Stanislao Nistal to this portal. And so:
“The numbers of infections in Australia should serve to strengthen the vaccination campaign with the aim of getting ahead of the flu virus and thus protect the most vulnerable people.”
These figures may have an explanation: the few cases of influenza that have been recorded in the last two years.
“The natural reinforcement of our immunity against the flu virus has been “less enhanced than in previous years as we have been less exposed to infection.”
Therefore, it is a uncertainty know “to what extent this lower exposure is going to be decisive in having more cases of the flu this year.
Therefore, and before the first autumn without masks and with the forecast that the flu could be more virulent this year, vaccination is recommended for risk groups:
People older than 65 years.
People at high risk of complications from the flu.
Health and social health personnel.
Pregnant in any trimester of pregnancy.
As specified by Health, “although the disease is higher in childhood and youth, complications and mortality are higher in the population over 65 years of age”.
Therefore, vaccination in healthy children is not recommended.
75% of severe cases of influenza “that require hospitalization occur in people 65 years of age or older. In addition, “more than 80% of deaths from influenza also occur in this age range.”
Can I get vaccinated if I am allergic to eggs?
Most flu shots use egg-based technology “and contain a small amount of egg protein.”
However, as the Ministry of Health points out, numerous studies with patients allergic to eggs “indicate that severe allergic reactions in people with that profile are very unlikely.”
“But the precautions “should be similar to those taken before the administration of any other vaccine.”
Can I get vaccinated against COVID and the flu at the same time?
Yes. And that is what many experts have called for, to speed up the process and reduce the burden on healthcare personnel.
But in Spain the flu campaign begins in the second week of October.
However, those people who receive an appointment to be vaccinated against COVID-19 when the flu vaccination campaign has already started, are likely to receive both doses at the same time.
“Yes. They can be administered in the same appointment. Both vaccines will be administered at different anatomical sites.