Spanish – She doesn’t know how it happened, but she has the coronavirus. A nurse at the Las Higueras de Talcahuano Hospital in the Biobío Region of Chile contracted the disease despite receiving the first dose of the vaccine developed by Pfizer-BioNTech.
The health authorities of the southern country confirmed the positive result. She is surprised. The health worker -her identity is protected- suspects that her infection was caused by “some contact” before or after the immunization, says La Tercera.
Although she confesses that she does not present severe symptoms and maintains her confidence in the vaccine because she considers it “something safe,” doubts reign in the population. So the spokespersons of the Government of Sebastián Piñera redouble their efforts to prevent this incident from turning into a rejection of this vaccine.
A probable reality
The case of the Chilean health worker is an example of the probability of infection despite immunization since the effectiveness promised by the laboratories kicks in seven days after the second dose, and this nurse had only received the first one.
The health superintendent of Biobío, Héctor Muñoz, focuses his speech in this direction assuring that “the vaccine is very effective, but this situation can happen between doses. It can even occur after people are vaccinated but in much less proportion.”
There are concerns at the Palacio de La Moneda. The Health Minister, Enrique París, points out that “if this nurse appeared sick a few days ago, she surely got it before and it is obvious that the vaccine is not enough to take effect, that is why the second dose after 21 days is very important.”
Chile bought near 1.6 million doses to the binomial Pfizer-BioNTech that will arrive from a laboratory located in Belgium on the border with Germany. Later they will come from another located in the United States, reveals Pauta.
According to Paris, the vaccines are approved by the nation’s Institute of Public Health (ISP) and under the international standards of the US Food and Drug Administration and the World Health Organization (WHO). In his opinion, “the fact that she has become ill is because the vaccine did not manage to form antibodies since that is how the vaccine works.”
Doses with more deadlines
The Chilean nurse has scheduled the second dose for the January fortnight and, although it is not clear whether it will be administered, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced today that it recommends delaying “between 21 and 28 days” the administration of the second dose of the Pfizer and BioNTech vaccine to increase the number of people who can receive the first dose in the initial stages of immunization, reported EFE.
The Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE), chaired by Mexican Alejandro Cravioto, met virtually five days after the WHO authorized the emergency use of this vaccine.
The 26 experts advised administering the vaccines only in facilities where possible allergic reactions to the vaccine can be treated. For now, they do not recommend vaccinating pregnant or lactating women until there is more data on the effects of the vaccines on them. However, exceptions could be made in specific cases, for example, in health workers in environments with a high risk of coronavirus exposure.
For people who have already recovered from COVID-19, the group of experts linked to the WHO suggests “delaying their vaccination” to allow others to be immunized since the data suggest that re-infections are less likely six months after the patient has recovered from the disease.
A different vaccine
The coronavirus vaccine operates very differently from others, such as measles, chickenpox, and flu vaccines, which generally contain small, live, attenuated, or inactive parts of the virus or bacteria it is trying to prevent so that a person’s immune system recognizes and defends them, explains La Tercera.
Pfizer and BioNTech’s formula is a different one. It uses a molecule called mRNA (messenger RNA), the genetic material that cells use to produce various proteins. The scientists focused on the mRNA to develop the “spike” (or tip) proteins of the coronavirus, which stick to the outside of each Sars-CoV-2 particle and allow the virus to enter human cells.
Thus, the researchers isolated the instructions of the Sars-CoV-2 mRNA to produce its peak proteins and surrounded that mRNA in a small fat bubble to protect it from disintegrating inside the body. Upon entering, they attach themselves to human cells and release their “instructions” to create coronavirus proteins.
This is when the human cell makes the same proteins that are normally found on the surface of the virus, mimicking what Sars-CoV-2 looks like on the outside. In this way, the immune system recognizes it as an invader and creates its antibodies.
The process is complex, but it is guaranteed. Since December 24, Chile deployed its vaccination with four routes that include one from its capital to Patagonia.
Booming strains and restrictions
Chile also reports the second case of coronavirus with the British strain in the Maule Region that arrived in Santiago on December 22 from Madrid on an Iberia flight.
“It is a healthy person, without morbid antecedents, is in good general conditions, asymptomatic, and is already hospitalized in a preventive way,” said Minister París in his daily report.
As a result, new restrictions on entry into the country were activated. As of this January 7, at 5:00 a.m., all travelers arriving in Chile- foreigners and Chileans- must have a negative test taken at least 72 hours before the trip.
The conditions will be for the travelers but also for the airlines that must ensure compliance by refusing boarding without the test. If passengers do not have these requirements, they will not be able to enter the country, or they will have to be returned to their place of origin.
Additionally, a mandatory ten-day quarantine will be imposed to avoid the growing number of cases, which, in the last report, showed a 32% increase with 2450 infected people recorded for a total of 620,641.