The covid-19 vaccination of Catalonia has returned this Monday to its starting point: the Feixa Llarga nursing home in L’Hospitalet. Almost two years ago, in December 2020, an elderly woman, Josefa Perez, then 89 years old, became a one of the symbols of the pandemic by receiving the territory’s first coronavirus vaccine. This Monday Josefa has put her arm back to receive the first fourth dose of covid-19 and, in addition, the influenza vaccine.
“It is a adapted vaccine, bivalent, which has the Wuhan variant and BA.4 and BA.5, so it is adapted to the variant circulating in our environment,” explained the Secretary of Public Health at a press conference, Carmen Cabezas. The fourth dose of covid, together with the influenza dose, should be administered to persons over 60 years of age. Also those who are under 60 but possess. some risk factor.
The Conselleria de Salut has started the simultaneous vaccination against the two viruses in the over 80 years of age living in nursing homes. In Catalonia there are about 400,000 people who are over 80 years of age, of whom. 40,000 live in geriatric homes. “We will be calling people in their 80s or older who are not in nursing homes to be vaccinated in their primary care center (CAP) or premises set up by the municipalities,” said the ‘conseller’ de Salut, Josep Maria Argimon.
In addition, “from a few days”, the department will open the appointment to be vaccinated, both covid and influenza, people from 60 or older at their health centers. This age group is not yet eligible for vaccination. “We will let you know in good time.” has emphasized the ‘conseller’, who has also specified that “people under 60 without any risk factor do not need a fourth dose”, nor a flu vaccine.
Argimon recalled the “clearly emotional moment” that was experienced two years ago in this residence in L’Hospitalet, when Josefa Perez, now 91 years old, became the first Catalan woman to receive the covid-19 vaccine. “Things have changed tremendously epidemiologically, the vaccine allowed us to see the light at the end of the tunnel. It is part of the solution,” Argimon stressed.
Moreover, given that the epidemiological situation now is better than it was then and many people are immunized (thanks to the vaccine and thanks to having passed the virus), there is no rush. “We’re going to do this vaccination with the tranquility that acquired immunity gives us,” Argimon said. This is the first time during the pandemic that health authorities will vaccinate with variant-adapted vaccines.