Spain prepares for an autumn with four new ‘anticovid’ vaccines

The Second-generation ‘anticovid’ vaccines. are already here. They are updated pharmaceuticals against new variants, especially against omicron, and which will improve the not inconsiderable protection offered by the traditional vaccines, those created from the original Wuhan variant. Just a few days ago, the United Kingdom approved the first bivalent covid-19 vaccine, which is also effective against omicron and its BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants, of the U.S. company Moderna. It has yet to be authorized by the European Medicines Agency (EMA).

Catalonia will begin to put the fourth doses of the covid vaccine in autumn, and will start with those over 80 years of age. The pediatrician and vice-president of the Spanish Vaccinology Association (AEV), Fernando Moraga-Llop, believes that, by then, Spain will already have the updated Modera vaccine. And, also, a second generation of Pfizer, which, like Moderna’s, will be effective against Wuhan strains and the BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants, only Moderna has been licensed, and by the UK Medicines Agency only.

But there will be two more new vaccines. “Next to the messenger RNA drugs. [Pfizer y Moderna]is the second group of recombinant protein vaccines.” Moraga-Llop points out. In Spain, the following are authorized Nuvaxovid, from the U.S. laboratory Novamax, of which “not much diffusion has been made, nor have many doses been purchased” because the Ministry of Health will only put it in people who have some contraindication of the other vaccines. “This vaccine, which only has the ancestral strain, the Wuhan strain, doesn’t count for much in the vaccine strategy,” this pediatrician points out.

The arrival of Hipra

In addition, it is foreseeable that Hipra, the Spanish vaccine, will also be available next autumn, more specifically developed in Catalonia. This would be the first ‘anticovid’ vaccine manufactured in the European Union (EU). “It is, like Nuvaxovid, from recombinant protein. But, unlike the latter, it is bivalent and will carry two variants: alpha and beta. Even so, it has been shown to have a great immune reaction to all variants, including omicron.” Moraga-Llop says. In fact, studies show that a third dose of Hipra in people over the age of 16 who have previously received two doses of Pfizer would have “an increased immune response.” y “fewer adverse effects”.

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Lastly, there will be another new vaccine, that of Sanofi, which will carry the Wuhan and beta variants, but will take longer to arrive. Moraga-Llop believes the most imminent arrivals will be the updated Moderna and Pfizer, and Nuvaxovid and Hipra.

What about the older vaccines?

However, the shots with these new vaccines will depend on the. supply of the vaccines. Experience reminds us that production has its limits. In this regard, doctors call for calm. “The new vaccines are better, but not extraordinarily better. The old vaccines still work.” notes the epidemiologist Antoni Trilla, Head of Preventive Medicine at Hospital Clínic de Barcelona. Trilla is in favor of starting to vaccinate with fourth doses when there is a “guaranteed supply”, even if it meant starting “a little later.” “There’s always the question of whether Moderna and Pfizer are going to supply their new vaccines on time. They’re still manufacturing them.” warns the epidemiologist.

“The new vaccines are better, but not extraordinarily better. The old ones still work.”

Antoni Trilla

Head of Preventive Medicine at the Clínic

Moraga-Llop stresses the same idea as Trilla. “All vaccines we have at the moment reduce the risk of serious illness. It is more important to get any one than the type of vaccine,” says the AEV vice president. He also insists that, although it is important to get the fourth dose when the time comes, it is key to to keep moving forward with the third doses. “More than 40% in Spain still don’t have it,” he says. These people who still do not have the third doses (many because they were infected with omicron) could also receive the new vaccines.

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In the whole vaccination plan there is no longer any trace of the vaccines of AstraZeneca and Janssen. “The communication campaigns of both of them, in the wake of the adverse effects, has caused Europe to put them out of business. I don’t think we will be vaccinated with them again,” says Trilla.

Next autumn

Like those of the past two years, the coming autumn is. an unknown. As always, experts recommend caution when faced with the appearance of an new variant. Nor do they rule out that the omicron contagions The number of cases of infection is increasing again, despite the fact that many people have already been infected. Among other things, because reinfection is possible.

There is concern about the arrival of influenza, as has happened in Australia, after two years with hardly any sign of it

But, in addition, after two years with hardly a trace of it, there is concern about influenza. “Australia, the southern hemisphere territory we look at the most, has had flu. It’s even been ahead of pre-covid-19 years,” says Trilla. He admits to being concerned about how the energy saving measures can affect the transmission of respiratory diseases in general. “We are going to have to close up houses more. They will be less ventilated and there will be more risk of contagion,” anticipates this epidemiologist. Once the equator of August is crossed, September and autumn begin to appear out of the corner of our eyes.

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