Curitiba anticipates the application of the booster dose of the covid-19 vaccine for the most vulnerable elderly. The seniors aged 60 or over from long-stay institutions begin to receive the reinforcement this Monday (8/30). From this Tuesday (31/8) the vaccination will be taken to the homes of bedridden elderly people over 70 years old.
The measure is intended to strengthen the protection of people most vulnerable to the complications of the disease in view of the increased circulation of the P1 and Delta variants of the coronavirus, which have spread intensely across the country.
In long-stay institutions, the estimate of the Municipal Health Department (SMS) is to vaccinate around 3 thousand elderly people. Employees of the institutions will not receive the booster dose.
The expansion of the age group of the elderly in the institutions to 60 years or more was based on criteria of greater risk, through collective contact and because it is understood that asylum seekers, even under 70 years – an age defined by the Ministry of Health – have other health commitments.
The decision to advance the booster dose was taken by the Technical and Medical Ethics Committee at an extraordinary meeting last Friday (27/8), after analysis of updated epidemiological data.
A survey by the SMS Epidemiology Center showed an increase in the number of cases, hospitalizations and deaths of elderly people from the first week of August.
When comparing the peak of deaths among adults in the month of March (from 21 to 27/3) and June (from 30/5 to 5/6), the result was a growth of 21%. However, there was a 48% reduction in deaths among the elderly in the same period, which proves that the vaccine was effective in holding back the spread of the disease in this group.
However, looking ahead, in the first epidemiological week of August (from 1 to 7/8), the data point to a reversal in the curve of cases, hospitalizations and deaths in the elderly population, which was declining and rising again. Between the epidemiological weeks from 7/25 to 7/31 and from 8 to 8/14 there was a 10% increase in both the hospitalization rate and the death rate of people over 60 years of age.
“This change in trajectory associated with new scientific evidence, which indicates a decrease in the immune response of the elderly in approximately six months after the second dose of vaccines, lit our warning signal and led us to this decision”, explains the municipal secretary of the Cheers, Márcia Huçulak.
After the publication of these studies that point to a reduction in the immune response, especially in older people, the Ministry of Health released the application of the booster dose in people over 70 years of age.
“The reduction in the immune response happens due to what we call immunosenescence, which is the aging of the immune system. Considering the fact, we have to have different strategies for this audience”, clarifies the director of the Epidemiology Center, Alcides Oliveira.
In Curitiba, 90% of people over 90 years old have completed immunization more than five months ago. Among the elderly aged 85 to 89 years, the percentage is 77%. In the 70 to 79 age group, it is 94%.
The application of the booster dose will follow the recommendation of the Ministry of Health. The additional dose should preferably be from the messenger RNA platform (Pfizer/Wyeth) or, alternatively, viral vector vaccine (Janssen or Astrazeneca).
The expansion of the reinforcement strategy to other elderly groups depends on the arrival of immunization remittances.
Anticipation will not interfere with the advancement of immunization of others. The SMS will continue with the schedule for the application of the first dose of the anti-covid vaccine until reaching the entire population over 18 years of age, as provided for in the National Plan for Operationalization of Vaccination against Covid-19.