On a global average, life expectancy at birth has more than doubled since the beginning of the 20th century and is now 71 years. Much of this improvement is due to the dozens of vaccines developed since then, most of which have been shown to lower child mortality.
Diseases like polio and measles are already much rarer than they have been in the past (despite efforts by anti-vaccine movements to tarnish the image of immunizers), and there are even examples of eradication like smallpox being found in the Air spread and killed 30% of the contaminated.
Covid-19, with a lethality of around 2% in the cases identified, is not smallpox, but it has already caused great damage: there are more than 2 million deaths worldwide, 10% of which in Brazil alone.
Given a scenario where the routine was turned upside down, the economy hit, and not even mental health spared, vaccines for the new coronavirus appear to have hope of at least partially returning to what was once normal.
“The year 2021 began with great hope with the disclosure of the results of Phase 3 trials of various vaccines, with varying degrees of effectiveness in preventing mild cases, but with one great scientifically proven common benefit: effectively reducing the progression of mild cases for severe ones Cases and hospital stays, ICU admissions, and deaths. At this moment, it is more important than the return to the old normal to save lives and relieve the burden on the health system, which in some places is overcrowded and even collapses, ”says Alexandre Barbosa, Head of Infectious Diseases at Unesp.
Currently, the two vaccines closest to the Brazilian population are Coronavac, developed through the partnership between the Chinese Sinovac and the Butantane Institute and the drug partnership between Oxford University and AstraZeneca with the participation of Fiocruz (Fundação Oswaldo Cruz). If you just count these two, there will be roughly 150 million doses, enough to immunize (with two doses) 35% of the Brazilian population.
Experts heard by the report strongly believe that whatever the vaccine, once approved by Anvisa (National Health Surveillance Agency), it must be taken by those who can.
“It’s an act of respect for yourself, but especially an act of respect for others. When you think of you, all Anvisa approved vaccines will greatly reduce your risk of the disease. If you think of the collective, the more people are vaccinated, the less the virus can circulate, ”explains Pedro Hallal, Dean of UFPel and General Coordinator of Coronavirus Prevalence Research in Brazil.
“Imagine the regret of feeling guilty when someone around you gets infected and, worse, dies. What is lost if one is not vaccinated is a lot. Get vaccinated, if not for yourself, for your friends, especially older ones. You should get vaccinated because it is the right thing, ”says Luiz Eugênio Mello, neuroscientist at Unifesp and scientific director at Fapesp (São Paulo Research Foundation).
There has been criticism of the 50.38% effectiveness of Coronavac that butantane presented on the last day 12, particularly because of the contrast with the previous presentation that the institute only highlighted the 78% protection when only considering cases where medical Help was needed.
“Even if the vaccine is not very effective from the population point of view and a large enough number of people are vaccinated, you can achieve collective epidemics of protection and control. I will be vaccinated as soon as it becomes available [independentemente do laboratório de origem] and I will recommend that everyone who lives with me also get vaccinated, ”says Leo Bastos, statistician and public health researcher at Fiocruz.
“If we have a vaccine that cuts the chances of getting sick in half and the chances of needing medical attention nearly five times, why not get the vaccine? On the other hand, if you refuse the vaccine, you have twice the chance of getting sick and five times more likely to get medical help. Is it worth not getting vaccinated? Why not get vaccinated when the vaccine has almost no side effects? “Asks the microbiologist and President of the Instituto Questão de Ciência, Natália Pasternak.
The severity of the current scenario, in which some patients are even oxygen starved, must serve as a motivation for implementing a strategy to convince the population of the need for the vaccine, the scientists assess.
“The dramatic increase in the number of serious cases and deaths was predicted a few weeks ago due to the easing of restrictive measures and the disorientation of the federal government rejecting scientific recommendations forcing SUS to prescribe ineffective drugs and delaying vaccination. The only solution to fighting the pandemic is massive, urgent, urgent vaccination to prevent deaths and prevent the virus from spreading, ”said Luiz Davidovich, President of the Brazilian Academy of Sciences.
The World Health Organization estimates that 2 to 3 million people stop dying from vaccines every year, the equivalent of 4 deaths per minute. Another 1.5 million could be saved if vaccination were universal.
“There is no other way out of this chaos,” says the infectologist Rosana Richtmann from the Instituto de Infectologia Emílio Ribas. “We need to get vaccinated because vaccines fixed most of the pandemics in human history. Because we have safe and effective vaccines to start the process. Because more than a thousand Brazilians die from Covid-19 every day. Because loved ones.” the health professions. ” They are exhausted and almost in disbelief because all of us who have a minimum of sensitivity are afraid of this virus. In short, because we have to turn this game around – there is no other way or option, there is no plan B. “
“I want to be vaccinated so that I don’t die, so that I don’t get sick, so that I am not at risk of passing the virus on to other people and they die or get sick. I also want to get vaccinated because I always had vaccines and they were always good for me, ”said Rubens Belfort, President of the National Academy of Medicine.
Roberto Kraenkel, professor at the Institute for Theoretical Physics at Unesp and member of the Covid-19 BR Observatory, explains that vaccinations are more than an attitude of self-protection, an ethical duty and a civil act.
“Vaccination is part of the human effort to fight a pandemic that has killed many people and destroyed so many others. The vaccine is our only chance in this fight. Avoiding the vaccine is condemnable. It is a shame to stand out from an immense collective effort. It’s dark, ”says the physicist, who is closely following the development of the pandemic numbers in the country.
How vaccines protect
THE ONLY ONE
One of the principles of vaccination is immune memory induction. When the individual is given a vaccine, the immune system is activated and creates memory cells
These cells are responsible for protecting the individual when infected with the real virus, creating an immune response that is even more intense and faster than that developed at the time of the vaccine.
The organism responds to the presence of the virus by producing antibodies and activating cells that can directly destroy infected cells.
This vaccine activation of the immune system may not be good enough to prevent the infection from occurring completely, but it is possible to reduce its intensity
At least they can be prevented by vaccines like tetanus, measles, yellow fever, and hepatitis B.
A person who has been vaccinated or who does not transmit the virus, or who has a shorter duration and intensity of transmission due to a less serious illness.
When the majority of the population is immune to a contagious disease, indirect protection or herd protection arises even for those who are not immune to the disease (who have not been naturally infected or vaccinated).
The account used to calculate the percentage of the population that must be immune for the herd to function depends on the effectiveness of the vaccines to be used, the duration of that immunity and the basic reproductive index (R0) of the disease, i.e. H. Velocity of Propagation
It would take years for a minimum of the population to become infected and for the herd to be protected naturally – which would result in death
Based on mass vaccination, the reason for the success of this type of protection against diseases like measles and polio, this time until collective protection can only last a few months
2 million deaths
At least they are prevented annually by vaccination. another 1.5 million are still avoidable
Sources: WHO, CDC, Boston University, Johns Hopkins University, Stat News
See what other experts have said:
We need to get vaccinated to protect ourselves and to cut back on what affects us most, which is hospital stays, so that in the medium and long term we can turn Covid-19 into a controlled disease, an infection that has no effects like it does today . like so many infections and pandemics that we have had in the world that have become diseases of the past, like smallpox. There is still a lot to learn about Covid-19 and vaccination, but right now we need to vaccinate to reduce risk, deaths and hospital stays, and think not just about ourselves but the whole population.
Isabella Ballalai. Vice President of the Brazilian Society for Immunizations
The average human life has increased due to sanitary conditions and certainly due to the prevention of diseases through vaccination. Without vaccines, we see the recurrence of diseases that were under control, like measles and polio. Diseases that kill, and vaccination alone can protect people from contracting the viruses that cause them. Vaccinations protect yourself and others, they are an act of solidarity.
Lucile Winter, Director of the Brazilian Society for the Advancement of Science and Professor at the USP
Vaccination has two purposes. The first is individual: I don’t want to get sick, or if I do, it’s not that serious. But it is also an act of protection for the entire community. Another reason is that from the moment everyone is vaccinated, we provide indirect protection for those who cannot be vaccinated or who do not respond optimally to the vaccine because, for example, they are immunocompromised.
Raquel Stucchi, Professor of Infectology at the Unicamp
On an individual level, the vaccine offers some protection against the disease, in the case of Covid-19, a disease that can get you to the hospital, intensive care unit, and your life. It’s an important protection that’s always worth it. At the collective level, on the other hand, vaccination means that the spread of the virus is restricted. The less it will circulate and the less likely these people are to get sick. There are two good reasons: life itself and being a citizen in the community.
Dirceu Barbano, former CEO of Anvisa (2011-2014)