The government of São Paulo will start the application of the third dose of the vaccine against Covid-19 from September 6th for seniors over 60 years old. The announcement was made at a press conference at Palácio dos Bandeirantes this Wednesday (25). The vaccine booster can only be done six months after the application of the second dose.
According to the coordinator of the government’s scientific committee, Paulo Menezes, the third dose is a “further step” in protecting the elderly at a time when the Delta variant becomes dominant. “The Delta variant has spread, become dominant. Now, it’s one more step in protecting these people. We are seeing several countries applying the additional dose. Thus, the committee understands that it is very appropriate to have this condition also for our most vulnerable population”, he said.
The executive coordinator of the scientific committee, João Gabbardo, stated that the application of the third dose will be made with the immunizing agent that is available at the time. Janssen’s vaccine, which has only one dose, will also be boosted. “The position of the scientific committee is that this third dose or the additional dose can be used with the vaccine that we have available. When Janssen’s turn comes, which is a single dose, there will also be reinforcement. The vaccine or manufacturer will depend on availability,” said Gabbardo.
According to the committee, the indicators of Covid-19 in the state are constantly improving even with the appearance of cases of the Delta variant in São Paulo, but the vaccine boost is necessary. “What is known, from the experience of other countries, is that this variant is dealt with in a more positive way when people already have the complete vaccination schedule with two doses,” said the executive coordinator.
According to Gabbardo, the committee understands that the anticipation of the second dose of the vaccine is essential. “For this reason, this request to bring these deadlines forward was sent to the Ministry of Health. Also the issue of a third dose/booster dose for the age groups considered, the elderly. I remember that this is being done with all vaccines, regardless of the vaccine used in the elderly”.
According to Health Secretary Jean Gorinchteyn, the state has 266 Delta variant positive samples. He also informed that the committee is studying strategies for boosting the vaccine for immunosuppressed people and new announcements aimed at this population should be made in the coming days.
On the evening of Tuesday (24), the Minister of Health, Marcelo Queiroga, announced that vaccination with the third dose for seniors over 70 years old will take place from September 15th.
The Ministry of Health recommends that only Pfizer’s immunizing agent be used as a third dose. The government of SP, however, claims that it has not received guidance from the folder in this regard. “We are waiting for this position from the Ministry of Health. I have not yet received it officially from the Ministry of Health, but we will also have the Butantan vaccine available. All will be available for the population that goes to the UBS for their third dose. We will have all the vaccines”, said Regiane de Paula.
According to the coordinator of the State Immunization Program (PEI), Regiane de Paula, the definition of the calendar for the application of the third dose will follow the logic of age scaling used at this time in the state and will be discussed this Thursday (26).
“We are going to discuss this calendar tomorrow, starting with the older age groups and doing this staggering, also because the municipalities need to know how they are going to work and operationalize the campaign in their territory”, he said.
At the press conference, Governor João Doria (PSDB) presented a new vaccination card that will be used exclusively for the third dose – the booster dose card is blue while the card currently used for the two doses of the vaccine against Covid-19 is green.
Gabbardo also stressed that the calendar will also depend on the availability of vaccines. “[O calendário] it will comply with the same criteria as the beginning of vaccination: older age groups, people over 90 years of age, and the schedule will be established according to calculations of vaccine availability. Our Health Department will make the calculations to be able to make public the schedule and the speed with which they will be vaccinated.”