A residence in Madrid has suffered an outbreak of coronavirus with 21 infected who were already vaccinated, of them, seven have needed admission to the Ramón y Cajal hospital and one has already been discharged, as reported this Friday by the Deputy Minister of Public Health , Antonio Zapatero. The news of new ravages of the virus in the homes of the elderly brings back the bad memory of last year’s tragedy. On this occasion, however, there are reasons for calm: immunization reduces mortality. But also for precaution: the virus continues to circulate. Zapatero recalled: “The pandemic is not over.”

The outbreak occurred in the Orpea San Blas residence, a 180-seat center in the San Blas-Canillejas district, in the east of the capital. Sources close to the area of ​​that residence explain that it happened in the area of ​​dependents – those who need support because they do not have autonomy to carry out day-to-day tasks – on the second floor of that center, where 52 people live. Those same sources confirm that at least four of them have been diagnosed with mild or moderate pneumonia and have required oxygen support. The positive in immunized people, said Zapatero, is that, “mostly”, the cases of infection in them do not have a “striking clinical importance.”

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The origin of the outbreak is still unknown. What Zapatero has explained is the chronology. “It begins on May 30, when two patients go to the Ramón y Cajal Emergency Room, nothing related to the covid. One for a hip fracture and one for aspiration pneumonia. It is when doing the relevant protocol when the PCR tests are positive ”. The next day antigens were tested “on the entire second floor of that residence.” With the results, the center was divided into two zones, red and yellow. No worker has so far tested positive in the PCR although, the deputy counselor has clarified, “the result of any test still remains to be known.” He believes that “probably” the “responsible” variant is the British one.

It is not one of the variants that most worries the Madrid Health Council, as others do, which Zapatero has referred to as “strains of concern”. “We are detecting and we are concerned about other strains in which we see a progressive increase, such as the Colombian variant, with a mutation that can cause a problem in relation to vaccines. There may be a vaccine escape ”, he stressed.

So far, research shows that current drugs protect against these covid modifications. A study led by researchers at the La Jolla vaccine center, in the US, last spring, showed that the immune system of those who had already had the disease or had already been vaccinated with doses of Pfizer or Moderna – those of messenger RNA -, was able to neutralize the variants that could give more problems at that time [la colombiana, por ejemplo, no apareció hasta el pasado mayo en la lista “de variantes de interés” para la Unión Europea]: the Brazilian, the South African, the British and the Californian.

The elderly from residences were the first to be vaccinated in Spain and the process concluded before the end of spring. No outbreaks have been known since the beginning of the year. The last was in the Los Nogales Puerta de Hierro residences, in the capital, and Vigor, in Becerril de la Sierra, which ended with more than twenty deaths who did not have the complete guideline.

Experts warn that immunization greatly reduces the severity of the disease, but does not protect 100%. This outbreak, said the deputy counselor, “comes in handy to remember that vaccines are very effective and very safe, but not 100%, and that vaccinated people can develop the infection.” Those who already have immunization can get it, get sick and develop symptoms, as well as infect other people, although it is not the most common.

In the United Kingdom, where the percentage of the inoculated population is so high that it has already allowed them to start some studies – they have more than half of its almost 67 million inhabitants with the first dose -, the result of one of them being Last May it was that those who had been vaccinated and were infected, had half the probability of infecting those with whom they lived.

The vaccine, the best tool at this time against the virus, has returned a feeling of relative calm to nursing homes, which suffered the greatest damage in the first wave. 11,389 older people died in Madrid centers, many in their beds in the residence when their right to hospitalization was denied.

The situation is different now and the Community of Madrid has authorized visits, maintain physical contact in activities, wearing the mask, or perform shows with limited capacity for family members. A) Yes reflects it the Guide to Measures against coronavirus infection in residential social health centers for the elderly of the region prepared by the Ministry of Health and Social Policies.

The spokeswoman for the Madrid employer Amade, Pilar Ramos, says that many elderly patients do not even have symptoms. “That is the wonderful thing about the vaccine,” says Ramos, whose employer represents more than 200 residences. “I have only had one case in a center that was infected by her family member, it seems, and we knew it was because the daughter called because she had done a PCR and it was positive. We did the test and it came back positive, but she didn’t have any symptoms. “

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