Herd immunity in Tatarstan was expected in January, but vaccination rates are falling

The validity term of certificates can be reconsidered

New certificates about vaccination against coronavirus will still be valid for a year, those given after the diseases will be for six months. But the duration of the certificate doesn’t depend on the type of vaccine. However, chief visiting epidemiologist of the Tatarstan Ministry of Health Care Dmitry Lopushov didn’t rule out during a live transmission that these terms could be reconsidered if the epidemiological situation got worse.

The standpoint on QR codes remains unchangeable — they are given only after the full vaccination. The certificate itself will include three sections — it is information about vaccination, information about diseases and information about medical exemptions. In the first two cases, the information will be taken automatically from old certificates, while as for the medical exemption, health workers are waiting for explanations. The exemption will be valid for from one to six months. People with such a document aren’t yet given QR codes.

In some cases, it hasn’t been a year since the vaccination but there aren’t almost antibodies. Here, Lopushov reminded the audience that revaccination is taking place in full swing, which is done six months after the first one.

“First, during the spread of the Wuhan variant, yes, we said that the vaccination would stay for a year. But now, unfortunately, the forecasts were not correct, the delta variant came, which is more contagious, spreads much faster,” the epidemiologist noted.

For the same reason, a vaccination certificate is valid during the year, while the revaccination term is six months.

“It isn’t excluded that if the situation gets worse in the future or, God forbid, new variants that are different from the existing delta variant appear, the option of reducing the validity period of QR codes will be reconsidered. Yes, the efficacy has reduced a bit, it is just some per cents, which in general doesn’t impede using them in today’s situation,” Lopushov said.

Vice Premier Leyla Fazleyeva added that 37,000 people were revaccinated in the last 24 hours:

“The terms of many people’s vaccines are running out, and I, of course, want to thank those who care about their health.”

Today, 1,710,821 people have been vaccinated (+18,143 a day), of whom 1,137,552 received the second dose.

“The virus will likely stay with us, it won’t disappear”

According to the Health Care Ministry’s forecasts, Tatarstan will achieve herd immunity by January 2022 if the high vaccination rate stays. Nowadays, the indicator is 80-85% of the population.

“Everything depends on us, how quickly we will have this immunity. Herd immunity is a brick wall, and every vaccinated person inserts his brick into this wall. The faster everybody gets vaccinated, the faster we will get the wall that will protect us from coronavirus. It is necessary to note that the vaccination rate in the republic is quite good, at the same time, an insignificant decline has been seen. If we used to vaccinate 33-34,000 people, now we are doing some 25,000,” the speaker said.

It is also forecasted when the coronavirus pandemic in general will end. Leyla Fazleyeva cited experts and said it wouldn’t be possible to back to the previous life in the next months or a year:

“Now everybody is very tired of the coronavirus aggression, indeed,” she noted.

However, Lopushov didn’t make any predictions.

“We can just make a mathematical forecast: there is a decline, a rise, a plateau. But this doesn’t always work for coronavirus. The virus penetrated the population, and this should be clearly understood. The virus will likely stay with us, it won’t disappear. Our key task is to minimise its influence on human health with the help of vaccination. It will stay as the ordinary seasonal acute viral respiratory infections almost everybody forgets, and there won’t be such a workload on the health care system,” the epidemiologist noted. “We aren’t almost talking about the extermination of the disease.”

“It is necessary to choose the firefighting vehicle that is ready to go”

As for the vaccines a sufficient amount of the Sputnik V arrived in Tatarstan. Moreover, it will be enough to have that herd immunity in Tatarstan. As for other vaccines, particularly, the CoviVac, Lopushov urged people not to wait:

“The fire hasn’t been put out. Consequently, it is necessary to choose the firefighting vehicle that is ready to go.”

The recognition of foreign vaccines is not discussed in the Ministry of Health Care, the epidemiologist notes.

“I think this process is inevitable. It is a matter of time,” Lopushov says. So what is the difference between the first dose and the second one. The epidemiologist answered the question by putting an example of the Sputnik V. Its first and second doses have different adenoviruses, Ad5 and Ad26 respectively. When it comes to their volume, both doses are identical.

Lopushov reminded the audience that a vaccinated person can have coronavirus and spread the infection, but to a lesser degree.

“But the viral load he spreads in the environment is much lower,” the chief visiting epidemiologist of the Tatarstan Health Care Ministry assured people.

He added that it was impossible to get infected after the vaccine — the medication doesn’t contain the live virus. In other words, COVID-19 cannot be found after vaccination in a PCR test.

“We all seem to say that we are ready to do the impossible for children, but we aren’t ready to go and receive a vaccine”

A higher incidence in children is the specifics of today’s rise in infections, which is conditioned by the delta variant, Lopushov noted. This can be linked with the specifics of functions of receptors the virus gets through into the cells. Its amount in children is low, this is why the virus hardly penetrated children’s organisms.

“A child’s any pneumonia develops quite severely. So some medication that is taken by adults have contraindications among children, this is why the situation is tense here,” he said.

In such a situation, parents, as Lopushov says, should create a safe environment for their children by receiving a vaccine themselves.

“The situation isn’t clear. We all seem to say that we are ready to do the impossible for children, but we aren’t ready to go and receive a vaccine. So we show incoherence,” the doctor said.

Daria Pinegina

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