like Vaccination progress Among the younger, the profile of deaths by Covid is close to the pattern observed at the beginning of the year, when Severe forms of the disease are concentrated in the elderly.
In January, for example, the group aged 80 and over represented 33% of those killed by Covid in Brazil. In April, that segment shrank to 12%. In the second half of July, it rose to 26%.
The debate about the mortality of people in this age group has gained steam with Actor Tarcisio Mira dies, 85. Since he received two doses of Coronavac, the condition is It fueled unfounded theories about the vaccine and protection for the elderly.
But according to the experts consulted LeafThe increase in mortality in the elderly, especially in the 80 years or older age group, was already expected and does not reflect a loss of vaccine efficacy. On the contrary, it indicates that the immunizing agent also has an effect on other parts of the population.
was old The first goals of the vaccination campaign. As a result, deaths and hospitalizations, which were affecting them most, began to be concentrated in the younger age groups, who had not yet been immunized.
With the expansion of vaccination and the vaccination of young people, those 80 years of age or older have become a relevant group among those most naturally affected by disease.
This does not mean, however, that the risk of death for older adults has increased. The number of elderly people who have been hospitalized or who have died has declined across the country since March.
In the last week of February, the vaccination campaign for people aged about 80 years started Sao Paulo, 2,244 people in this age group died in the country. In the penultimate week of July, there were 527 people, a decrease of 77%.
That is, in practice, fewer elderly people are hospitalized and lose their lives to disease, but to the general population, they account for a greater proportion of deaths and hospitalizations. than in April, when they were practically the only group to complete the Covid vaccination schedule.
The data is tabulated by Leaf They are from the Epidemiological Surveillance System of the Ministry of Health and take into account the percentage of people killed by Covid-19 in Brazil. The analyzed period was from January 3 to July 24, 2021.
“It’s not that the vaccine has stopped protecting,” says Mauricio Nogueira, virologist and professor at the São José do Rio Preto School of Medicine.
“What we have is the decrease in the total number of deaths due to protection in various groups, and the consequent normalization of that artificial phenomenon where the number of deaths among young people was more than among the elderly because only the elderly population was protected. When young people pass for protection, we go back to A situation in which the elderly are the most vulnerable,” he says.
The virologist also states that although a large portion of young people are not immunized, this group is less likely to contract severe forms of the Covid virus, causing an increased mortality rate in the elderly compared to the young that must be observed before obtaining full vaccination coverage.
Additionally, Nogueira states that the graphs show a scenario similar to the January scenario, where there was no immunization at the time, and groups were similarly vulnerable.
“We still don’t have the protection of all age groups, and young people are still largely unprotected, but they are naturally more resistant to disease,” he says. “In absolute numbers, very few old people die.” “We’re back in a situation where young and old are equally susceptible.”
A similar phenomenon occurred in Population 60 years and over. With the advancement of vaccination in this age group, the proportion of deaths from disease in this group began to decline, while the youth saw their proportion increase, as the elderly became more protected.
But advances in immunizing young people and adults have made the percentage of deaths of people aged 60 or older rise, bringing the death rate closer to the pattern observed in the year.
Epidemiologist Andre Ricardo Ribas Freitas, professor at the São Leopoldo Mandic School of Medicine, supports the thesis and says that with the start of vaccination of adults and young adults, the number of deaths in these groups has decreased.
Thus, the death rate among young people and the elderly changed, with the decrease in the death rate among young people and the consequent increase in the percentage among the elderly.
“As you increase the number of young people being vaccinated, you reduce the death rate among young people, and on the contrary, you increase the death rate among the elderly. But this is an effect of the ratio,” he adds. “If I have 10 white balls and 10 black balls, they are 50% and 50%. If I take 8 white balls, the percentage of black balls will increase. This does not mean that the number of black balls has increased.”
Christofam Barcellos, public health specialist and researcher at Vucrose, cites strategies that need to be adopted to reduce the risk of the most vulnerable. Between the use of masks, social isolation and other measures, Barcellos highlights the need for mass testing of the younger population, something that has never been implemented in Brazil.
“Most of these elderly people are very careful. They stay home, wear masks, and avoid crowds. Who is infecting these people? Perhaps the unvaccinated group. So it is time to isolate this population through testing. We have to protect the most vulnerable populations today.” .
This is important becauseNo vaccine offers 100% efficacy.. Those applied against the coronavirus offer greater protection against severe cases, hospitalizations and deaths, but less protection against transmission or asymptomatic infection. Older adults are more likely to fail the vaccine, because they have a naturally weakened immune system, due to what is called a weakened immune system.
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