About 90% of the first 1.000 health professionals vaccinated in Portugal developed immunity against the new coronavirus three weeks after receiving the first dose, reveal the findings of a study released this Friday, February 5th.
Conducted by the Gulbenkian Science Institute (IGC) and the Western Lisbon Hospital Center (CHLO), the study to assess the effectiveness of the first vaccine against covid-19 to be used in Portugal involved doctors, nurses, operational assistants and diagnostic technicians. and therapeutics, which were vaccinated in December 2020.
"The first results of this study, after administering the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, show that 90% of these health professionals already demonstrate an immune response to the vaccine," said the IGC in a statement.
According to the same source, all participants in this investigation were tested for the presence of antibodies directed to the virus before taking the vaccine and three weeks after administering the first dose of the drug.
The same professionals will be tested three weeks after taking the second dose, the institute said, adding that the duration of their immune response will be monitored in the following phases that will be developed throughout the year, a data collection that has been recommended by World Health Organization to monitor the effectiveness of the new vaccine internationally.
“Following the implementation of these vaccines is very important to ensure the efficacy and durability of their action independently. It will allow us to gain confidence in this tool and fine-tune its administration in the future,” said Mónica Bettencourt-Dias, director of the IGC.
For Carlos Penha-Gonçalves, a Gulbenkian researcher involved in this study, monitoring the application of the vaccine, in different contexts and different populations, allows “to ensure what scientists call 'evidence in the real world'”, through the collection of data on the effective protection of the drug against SARS-CoV-2 infection.
The IGC now intends to extend this study to other age groups of the population and to different vaccines, in partnership with other hospitals and municipalities.
The set of data collected will be shared with the National Institute of Health Dr. Ricardo Jorge (INSA), with a view to making available information obtained at European level for possible updates of the recommendations on the administration of vaccines.
Rita Perez, president of CHLO, which brings together S. Francisco Xavier, Egas Moniz and Santa Cruz hospitals, highlighted the importance of monitoring the introduction of vaccines «to ensure that they meet their goal of protecting those on the front lines, a strong pandemic containment mechanism'.
The Gulbenkian Institute of Science and the Western Lisbon Hospital Center have been developing a set of surveillance projects for the SARS-CoV-2 virus in healthcare professionals since the spring of 2020, when the covid-19 pandemic began.
The national vaccination plan against covid-19 started on 27 December with the administration of vaccines to hospital health professionals directly involved in providing care to patients.
As the minister of Health said yesterday, February 5, “the country has around 378 vaccine inoculations” against covid-19.
"In addition to about 100 professionals of the National Health Service already vaccinated, there are also vaccinations that are starting and that we hope to accelerate in the various partners of the health system," added Marta Temido.