The Public Health Commission has decided to postpone the second dose of Astrazeneca to those under the age of 60 until the results of the clinical trial have been obtained, as sources from the autonomous communities confirmed to LaSexta. More specifically, the decision is delayed for four weeks in order to know the results of the trial, scheduled for mid-May.
The decision sparked a great debate within the Commission, as up to 10 communities were in favor, but some were not.
The deadline was already tight, because according to the government file, the first doses of Anglo-Swedish society landed in Spain on February 6. However, these were not inoculated until two days later, on day 8. Thus, if the pharmacist’s recommendation is followed (which sets a limit of 12 weeks to inoculate the second vial), this Monday the first vaccinated should complete your guide. However, this will not be the case.
Three options on the table: the first, keep everything as is
On April 7, Santé decided to modify the vaccination campaign. AstraZeneca injection, which was given primarily to essential workers (such as state security forces and bodies, second-line health workers or teachers), could only be given to people over 60 years old. Although before it had already undergone changes, because at first it was only applied to under 55s, then it was decided to extend the range to 65.
Since that announcement, nearly two million people have been left in limbo. The vast majority of essential professionals are under the age of 60 and, according to health recommendations, they should receive the second dose.
The fact is that several weeks after this shutdown, the options remained exactly the same as those already offered by Health. The first, who had to follow the instructions for the vaccine; that is to say, vaccinate all these people with the second dose before the expiry of the deadline, it will ultimately not be carried out despite the fact that this was what the European Medicines Agency defended because it considers that “there was not enough exposure or follow-up time” to determine whether the risk of thrombus after the second dose differs from the risk after the first.
Second possibility: mix the vaccines
This was one of the options Carolina Darias had the most influence over: ending the vaccination with a different dose than AstraZeneca, predictably with Pfizer, which is why a trial is currently underway at the Carlos III Institute in five Spanish hospitals and which was finally decided to wait in the commission.
For example, the “CombiVacs” study works with 600 patients from different age groups and regions of Spain who have received a single dose of AstraZeneca. However, the results of this study are late, as a conclusion is not expected until mid-May. Therefore, according to Antonio Zapatero, it will take between four and six weeks to decide what to do with the second dose.
Third option: delay the second dose
This is ultimately the option chosen and the decision to inoculate the second dose will have to wait four weeks for the results of the ISCIII trial to be known. However, this Wednesday Health recalled that the first dose of AstraZeneca already offers 76% effectiveness against serious infections, “there are therefore reasons to be able to extend the interval of the second dose”.
This is what Ireland did, where it waited 16 weeks while awaiting the arrival of scientific evidence. In addition, depending on the vaccination strategy, people who have passed COVID and received a dose will not receive a second at least 6 months later. But the decision has varied by country, as Italy, for example, was one of the few to follow EMA’s recommendations and continues with initial deadlines for the delivery of the second dose. France, Germany or Finland, for their part, are already choosing to mix two different vaccines.