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August 15, 2022
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HealthMin Rafila: At vaccine coverage of 35-40 pct priority is immunisation of non vaccinated, not the booster dose

Newly installed Health Minister Alexandru Rafila declared Thursday that the administration of the third COVID shot is important especially for the countries with a vaccination coverage of 70 – 80 percent, while in Romania, where this indicator is just around 40 percent, the top priority is rolling out the first two doses.

“We are talking about the third booster dose, while more than 60 percent of Romania’s population has not yet had the first two doses. The priority – and this is the WHO’s position – is to vaccinate as much of the population as possible. The third dose is very important for countries with a vaccination coverage of 70 – 80 percent, but for countries where this indicator is 35 – 40 percent it’s not the third dose that is top important, but vaccinating those who haven’t yet taken the needle, because this is why we record serious cases and deaths,” Rafila told a news conference.

Asked about his opinion about the possibility of mandating a booster dose for people traveling to EU countries, Rafila pointed out that this is a proposal from Greece and that it is being analyzed at EU level.

He also mentioned that in December 2020 he got the disease, received the first vaccine dose in March and the second one in April, but not the third.

“Of course, we also need to discuss the doses that are given to children or teenagers up to the age of 18 and whether these provisions apply to them too. If this is something acceptable for adults, because perhaps these parents do not necessarily want to vaccinate their children with the third dose. Things need to be discussed. We need scientific evidence to certify the necessity of these doses, including for those who have recovered from the disease,” the Health Minister said.

In his view, the vaccine developed at the end of 2020 could currently have less than 50 percent efficacy for the Delta strain, compared to 90 percent efficacy for the original strain. The intensity of the pandemic waves subsides as herd immunization is achieved by either vaccination or by disease, added Alexandru Rafila.

“Certainly, this disease will become endemic at some point. Now it’s epidemic, we have a wave of infection and at some point we will have a circulation of these viruses that will produce a relatively small number of cases in the population. And possibly we will have so-called seasonal epidemic outbreaks, which we could counteract by vaccination, especially for at-risk categories,” the Health Minister specified, according to Agerpres.

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