“Only 10% of those who are vaccinated are contagious”. This is explained by the immunologist and member of the Scientific Technical Committee (Cts) in an interview with ‘Corriere della Sera’. Can anyone who is vaccinated against Covid still get infected and transmit the infection? “Given that zero risk in medicine does not exist and that an extremely contagious variant, the Delta, is circulating, vaccination dramatically reduces both the risk of hospitalization and death, and the number of infections – he highlights – Therefore also the possibility of transmitting the virus: if I’m not positive, I can’t infect other people “.
Sergio Abrignani is full professor of General Pathology at the State University of Milan and director of the National Institute of Molecular Genetics ‘Romeo and Enrica Invernizzi’. What percentages are we talking about? “In the heaviest phases of the pandemic – he replies – both in Italy and in Great Britain there was one death for every 50 infected, now 6 and a half months after the start of the vaccination campaign and with a super diffuse variant that has become predominant, in Great Britain it is estimated about one death for every 500 infected. The complete course of Pfizer vaccine (two doses) protects 88% from serious illness and death and between 65 and 90%, according to the latest English data, from the risk of becoming infected and therefore transmit the infection “.” We think – he continues – of a closed environment with one or more positives: if those present are all vaccinated they become infected in the worst case 65 out of 100, if they are not vaccinated the percentage can rise to 100 percent . The Delta variant has an estimated R0 of 5-8 (subjects that can infect a positive), the Wuhan strain had an R0 of 2.5 and the Alpha variant is 4-5 “.
The no vaxes argue that the side effects of vaccines may outweigh the benefits in young people. Is that so? “No, it is essential that people under 40 get vaccinated, for various reasons: to protect themselves, their loved ones (especially if they are fragile) and prevent the virus from continuing to circulate. In the last month, the average age of new infections is 27 years and 24.8% of the cases concerned the 0-18 age group. Leaving an entire slice of the population unvaccinated can lead to the development of new variants “, Abrignani replies.
How much does the under 18 age affect overcoming the pandemic? “In Italy, there are about 3 million children between the ages of 12 and 17 – now vaccinated with Pfizer -. A very large basin for infection – recalls the immunologist – Furthermore, the risks associated with Covid in children are not equal to zero: in this year and a half the deaths between 0 and 19 years have been 28, according to ISS data. With vaccines we can prevent others from being added. Fortunately, minors with frailty are few (think for example of cancer patients), but let’s not forget that in Italy about one in ten children is obese (9.4%) and obesity represents one of the risk factors for severe forms of Covid. Not only that. In many families there are people who, even if vaccinated, they are not protected. Just think of the many patients undergoing chemotherapy or taking immunosuppressive drugs. Vaccinating a child or grandchild means drastically reducing the chances of a frail father or grandfather ending up in hospital for Covid with very high risk of death “.
Britain started the vaccination campaign before us. In Italy we must proceed at full speed protecting all age groups to prevent the situation from getting worse ”. Is the vaccine the winning weapon to defeat the virus? “Yes, we cannot trust in the seasonality or in the natural exhaustion of the infection. Let’s think of polio: the disease has been eradicated almost all over the world thanks to the vaccine. Globally we have exceeded 3.5 billion doses administered against Covid – concludes Abrignani – Adverse events were limited, we think of the rare thrombosis related to viral vector vaccines for which the regulatory agencies have changed the destination by age group. Those with mRna have shown efficacy and safety of the highest level and their possible use is also being studied in children under 12 “.