Covid case numbers in homes for the elderly are ten times higher than in early July
Eight months after a 96-year-old woman named Araceli Hidalgo became the first person in Spain to receive a dose of coronavirus vaccine pressure is growing on the Spanish government to authorize a third dose in order to increase resistance to new strains of the virus, including the Delta variant.
Of particular concern is the rising number of Covid cases being confirmed across residents of care homes and homes for the elderly, despite these having been given top priority when the immunization campaign began. Since the start of the summer the situation has worsened considerably, and whereas in the first week of July only 139 cases were reported the figure has been above 1,200 every week since the start of August.
At the same time the number of Covid-related deaths in care homes has risen to its highest level since February at 151 in the last week, far lower than before patients began to receive their second vaccine doses but at the same time a hugely significant increase since a weekly figure of just 7 was reported in July.
As yet the only measures proposed by Carolina Darias, the Minister of Health, to combat these increases are a requirement for workers at homes for the elderly to undergo weekly testing and a suggestion that those who decide not to be vaccinated should be moved to other locations, but these have met with a lukewarm reception on the grounds that they are not decisive enough.
Third dose in Spain or first dose in developing nations?
It is expected that the European Medicines Agency will issue its pronouncement on the administration of a third dose of Pfizer and Moderna vaccines on Monday August 23, and many countries have already jumped the gun and authorized the procedure, but apart from the medical advisability there are also other issues to be addressed.
Not least of these is the fact that, from a global perspective, many feel that rather than use vaccine doses on a third dose in developed countries, it would be more productive to ensure that they are rolled out to the populations of less developed nations in order to combat the pandemic on a worldwide scale.
In this respect, Spain finds itself in the extremely privileged situation of having already been able to administer two doses to around two thirds of the population, leading to many of those who are not yet included in that bracket to believe that the danger has passed and that they can get away with ignoring all social distancing recommendations. At the other extreme, though, in countries such as Tanzania and Nigeria the proportion of people vaccinated is still under one per cent, while just across the Mediterranean in Algeria the figure stands at 1.65 per cent.
Source: Murcia Today