Interview with the virologist of the State University of Milan: The situation is in line with what has happened in other countries. The green pass cannot eliminate the risk of contagion, but it helps to reduce it
Has the fourth wave of coronavirus infections arrived, as the data from the Gimbe Foundation show and how many experts feared?
Let’s hope it’s just a backlash – comments Fabrizio Pregliasco, virologist, professor at the State University of Milan -. However, a situation in line with what has already happened in other countries, while we were living a sort of honeymoon.
In what sense honeymoon?
We have been closed longer: those who reopened earlier, such as Spain and Portugal, have seen the infections rise again in recent weeks. And then there was that “eclipse of conscience”, during the celebrations for Italy’s victory in the European football championship, which favored the spread of the virus.
Speaking of contagion: where are the risks hidden?
A concept must be reiterated: that any contact between people can potentially represent a risk of contagion, even if low. Even the vaccinated (who in 88% of cases are protected from infection) in some cases can be carriers of the virus, despite the reduced load, and pass it on to others (this is why many experts, such as the American virologist Anthony Fauci, continue to recommend the use of a mask, ed).
This only underlines the importance of vaccination to reduce the circulation of the virus as much as possible. Many, however, are still hesitant, and let’s not talk about the hard core of the no vax. Why this hesitation?
Much to be attributed to a kind of information cacophony. passed, for example, the idea that vaccines are experimental and that some can interfere with our DNA. But not so. The technologies that have made it possible to develop RNA preparations (such as Pfizer, ed) and those with viral vectors (such as AstraZeneca, ed) have been under study for years. And this information confusion continues.
Explain yourself better.
For example, the EMA has given indications for vaccination in young people from 12 years of age. However, some countries, such as Germany or Sweden, currently vaccinate only the most fragile children, waiting to have more data on side effects (very rare cases of myocarditis are described among the youngest, ed), while in Italy follow the indications of the EMA. Vaccinating young people, however, is essential for the reopening of schools.
And the teachers?
I would compare them to health workers, especially those dealing with younger children. I would be for the obligation of vaccination.
Don’t you think that a certain resistance to vaccination is also due to the fear of side effects?
The most important side effects, such as thrombosis with the AstraZeneca vaccine in young women or myocarditis with Pfizer vaccine in young people, are very rare. And acceptable if we consider the damage that the disease entails.
However, minor ailments such as fever, which can reach temperatures over 39 degrees, bone and muscle pains, fatigue are quite frequent. Situations that create some mistrust. Do not agree?
Also from this point of view we need to reassure. All vaccines can have some side effects: we hear a lot about anti-Covid ones because so many people receive the vaccine. These are disorders that are resolved within a day or two (here the explanation in detail, ed).
To what are they attributed?
The state of inflammation that occurs when the immune system begins to react to the vaccine, producing antibodies and activating its defense cells.
According to a newly published study, Pfizer vaccine efficacy declines after 6 months. Should we start thinking about the third dose?
Israel (which had already reported this situation, editor’s note) is beginning to administer it to over 60s. Future decisions will depend on the progress of the infections and the availability of preparations. And they could raise some ethical problems since much of the world is not yet vaccinated.
There is a lot of talk about the green pass. Beyond political considerations, does it have a reason for being from a health point of view?
The green pass is an element that can make a more serene context and reduces the risk of contagion, even if it does not eliminate it.