In recent days, the drums have been beating again for the arrival of a new wave of the coronavirus pandemic. COVID-19 to our country; in this case, the fourth. “Throughout the country there is an increase in cases of COVID-19,” reported the Minister of Health, Jorge López Peña, earlier this week from Arequipa. “It is very likely that in the course of the week we will see an evaluation and, if this continues, we will most likely already be entering the next wave”, he added.
For his part, the Deputy Minister of Public Health, Joel Candia, was a little more specific and detailed that this fourth wave could reach our country as soon as July. “Precisely in these last few weeks, from the 19 [de junio]have increased from 25% to 30% the positive cases of COVID-19″, he explained to Canal N. The situation, it is true, should not cause panic and, in any case, as the specialists have anticipated, it is very likely that this new wave will be more like the third than the first two. However, it is important to make some notes in this regard.
The most important has to do with the vaccination process. At this point, it is widely known that the booster dose (also known as the third dose) prevents an infected person from developing more severe symptoms of the disease, thus reducing hospitalizations and deaths. In addition, by weighing down the development of the virus in the body, it decreases the ability of the infected person to spread the virus to third parties.
The same can be said of the fourth dose and those to come, since it has been shown that the defenses provided by the vaccine decrease after four months of administration. And that is not to mention the new variants of the virus that are appearing from time to time around the world, worrying the scientific community about their alterations in terms of their ability to reproduce and to resist the developed vaccines.
Despite the above, however, in our country – where the fourth dose has already begun to be placed for those over 40 years of age – more than 10 million Peruvians have still not received the third. In the disaggregation by regions, the picture worsens, since 20 regions register less than 70% -the base percentage that the health authorities aspire to reach- of the population inoculated with the booster dose. In regions such as Madre de Dios and Puno, not even 40% has been reached.
The responsibility for keeping the vaccination schedule updated is, of course, each one’s. As one of the countries hardest hit by the pandemic in its first two waves, we Peruvians should already know that in this fight against the virus, carelessness can pay dearly. However, it is also important here to call on the authorities.
For some time now, government announcements to encourage people to take the doses they are missing have been conspicuous by their absence. What is worse, the scandal that arose at the end of April with the application of the fourth dose of the Moderna vaccine (where double the amount due was negligently used, causing serious symptoms of fever and discomfort among those who received it ) colored the entire process and provided reasons for those who refuse to receive the puncture to continue doing so.
It is also undeniable that the rate of vaccination slowed down after the arrival of now former Minister Hernán Condori in the sector and that, given his inability to spur the process, the Executive did not come up with a better solution than forcing the population to have the three doses to enter closed establishments, transferring to the citizens the weight of a task that they still do not seem to assume with the seriousness that they should.
Peruvians have every right to enjoy the freedoms that we have recovered after two years of confinement. But we also have the responsibility to continue putting the shoulder. And in this, rulers and ruled must be a single fist.