Vaccines reduce the severity of COVID-19

Vaccines offer protection and we have seen this with the reduction in the number of hospitalizations. The children's sector represents the next challenge as it is also affected by the omicron variant. 92 percent of the adult population is fully vaccinated against the coronavirus.

Vaccines reduce the severity of COVID-19
Immunizations offer protection and we have seen it with the reduction in the number of hospitalizations. Photo by CDC / Unsplash

Time has shown that with consistency and universal coverage, vaccination is one of the best tools to preserve human health; proof of this is that in 1980 smallpox disappeared from the planet. Those who have not been vaccinated must so, said Gabriela Garcia Perez, professor of the Department of Microbiology and Parasitology of the Faculty of Medicine of the UNAM.

"It is these groups that are not vaccinated that open the possibility of these viruses continuing to circulate because they are reservoirs where they can infect and replicate," she warned. The specialist recalled that, as a result of vaccination, severe diseases such as polio -devastating among children-, diphtheria and measles have also been eradicated from the national territory. Even when they imply a risk, "it is always less than the risk of not being vaccinated, because with them we can prevent the disease or prevent it from worsening".

The severity of omicron has not been measured accurately, because a large part of the population is already vaccinated. "It is feasible that it is less severe, but that does not imply that it will be in every one since each organism is different. We see this every year, when the same flu does very little to one individual, while it leaves another bedridden." Variability depends on our lifestyle, diet, overall health, and heredity; here genes do matter, because the response mechanisms of each person depending on their genetics, added the academic, who recommended not to be confident in the face of the new variant.

In short, vaccines offer us protection and we have seen this with the abrupt drop in the number of intubated patients and hospitalizations. Of course, infections are on the rise because we are still not taking care of ourselves, but I do perceive a change. It was 208 years ago that the first vaccine was applied in Mexico by Dr. Francisco Xavier Balmis, who began inoculating the inhabitants of what was then New Spain against smallpox.

However, Mexico's strategies in this area have not always been optimal, which is why on January 24, 1991, the National Vaccination Council (Conava) was created by presidential decree. Up to that time, only 46 percent of the child population had a complete immunization schedule, a low rate that was gradually reversed.

Since then, the function of the organization is to establish how vaccines should be distributed and made accessible, as well as the ways to reach the most remote places, not an easy task since not all biologicals are resistant to the environment and this forces to take care of everything from cold chains to plan immunization schedules in detail.

Based on scientific evidence generated at the international level, Conava should start vaccinating children, said García Pérez. "We are talking about a sector highly affected by the omicron variant and, at the end of the day, we all must have some degree of protection". According to official figures, Mexico has achieved that 92 percent of the adult population already has a complete scheme against SARS-CoV-2, and 83 million Mexicans (of the almost 129 million that make up the population) have received at least one dose.