Quebec has decided to stand out in terms of vaccination and will take the risk of waiting up to 90 days to administer the 2nd dose in order, it is hoped, to save lives and reduce the pressure on the health network. health. Even if the objective is noble, I find that the bet is risky in a public health issue where the precautionary principle must apply.
Note that at this time, there is no scientific data on the effectiveness of the vaccine six weeks after the first dose. Quebec is also the only Canadian province that dares to ignore the recommendations of the World Health Organization and the National Advisory Committee on Immunization which suggest not exceeding the 6-week deadline, mentioning that the ideal would be to follow the manufacturers recommendations, ie 3 to 4 weeks.
Up to 12 weeks in Quebec, we will therefore serve as guinea pigs, in the same way as in the United Kingdom.
Of course, based on the experience with other vaccines, immunization does not stop suddenly, but what will be the percentage of loss of efficacy, its impact in the population and on its duration of action?
Unfortunately, we don’t know. Quebec will document the impacts as they occur.
Quebecers, guinea pigs
So far, Quebec is the Canadian province with the worst toll of the pandemic, with nearly a third of cases nationwide and half of all deaths.
Do we really have the leeway to take a risk?
Wouldn’t it be safer to have more data before making such a decision?
Let us not forget that it is especially the most fragile people, the people at the front and the most at risk who, unfortunately, will serve as guinea pigs.
I fully understand Quebec’s eagerness to want to vaccinate people quickly, but what will be the real gain if our vaccinated people are not sufficiently protected because of this delay?
We must also take into account the confidence or overconfidence that people vaccinated will gain in the face of the virus. It’s human, when you think you are safe from danger, you become less vigilant, you lower the protective barriers.
For the well-being of the entire population, I sincerely hope that the Government of Quebec wins its bet, or even better, that we have access to more doses quickly to be able to vaccinate within the prescribed timeframes, which would cancel this risky bet.