Tuesday 21 March 2023

Costa Rica cannot feel safe from covid-19 before having about 80% of population vaccinated

People must maintain their care even with its complete scheme, it takes time for the drug to achieve efficacy to prevent disease and control transmission

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QCOSTARICA – No doubt, vaccines are one of the most powerful tools to maintain control of Covid-19, but when it comes to entire populations, it takes time for the vaccines, the results are not immediately reflected when the percentage of people vaccinated is still low.

A larger quantity of vaccines allows people to receive the product and get closer to herd immunity. Photo: CCSS

For this reason, it is not advisable to consider that the advancement of vaccination implies that the disease disappears or that people are already immune to the infection.

Mike Ryan, head of emergencies at the World Health Organization (WHO), explains that the population that must be had to reach a herd immunity threshold, in which the vaccinated can protect the unvaccinated, much greater than the one previously thought and would rather be close to 80% and not 70%.

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“A great majority of us are still susceptible to contagion. It is very difficult for countries to search for zero infections and open activities.

“With vaccine coverage, it is currently not completely clear how much the percentage of vaccination should be to be reflected in transmission. It would be around 80% for transmission to be affected and to prevent further outbreaks, especially in countries with more transmissible variants,” he warned.

Costa Rica has already reported the presence of three of the four variants seen as the most transmissible.

Soumya Swaminathan, WHO chief scientist, agrees with Ryan, noting that a high level of vaccines is required to consider that there is a high level of protection.

“First we need each person to have at least two weeks of being vaccinated, but after that, a high number of vaccinated people is needed,” she said.

She recalled that the vaccines reduce the possibility of infection, but not by 100%, that is why you cannot lower your guard in terms of measures and protocols.

The signs

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For Swaminathan, there are signs that may indicate that things are beginning to improve. One of them is that deaths and hospitalizations in populations that have already been protected are beginning to decline.

Subsequently, a decrease in cases will be seen and this, in turn, could decrease transmission.

Costa Rica has already seen that to some extent. It was decided to give priority to older adults.

In November of last year, 80% of deaths related to Covid-19 were of the elderly. Now, these are less than 30%.

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Data released on June 8, indicate that 70.3% of those over 58 in the country are already protected, with both doses and 86% have at least one dose.

In addition, between the first and second applications for all groups, in the country, 36.2 doses have been provided for every 100 inhabitants.

It is undeniable that there is a positive impact, but it is still insufficient to be able to say that the measures that each person maintains can be lowered.

Maintaining protocols

How to protect yourself from infection:

  • Constant and thorough hand washing.
  • Do not leave home if you have symptoms.
  • Use the mask correctly, so that it covers the nose, mouth and chin without moving.
  • Avoid closed places with little or no ventilation. If so, open doors, windows. If there are no windows, stay there for as little time as possible.
  • Prefer open spaces or outdoors.
  • Avoid crowds.
  • Keep distance from people who do not live with us.
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"Rico" is the crazy mind behind the Q media websites, a series of online magazines where everything is Q! In these times of new normal, stay at home. Stay safe. Stay healthy.

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