The famous virologist and specialist in biochemistry and molecular biology, Margarita del Val, who is also a researcher at the Spanish National Research Council, considers that this year “there is no need” for a third dose of the vaccine against COVID-19 in “any age group.”
In an interview with the media Libertad Digital, del Val explained that the effectiveness of the vaccines remains the same one year after their application and that so far “there is no evidence to support the need” for a third dose.
“The protection that the elderly in nursing homes have right now is the same as it was when they were newly vaccinated,” said the expert. “The effectiveness of the vaccines has not gone down at all. There are no more serious cases among them than there were when they were newly vaccinated.”
Although del Val says she does not know if the virus “will remain as a cold” or as a flu after the immunization of the majority of the population, she does not think it is necessary to apply an annual booster dose of the vaccine.
“We don’t know if it will remain as a cold like those caused by other coronaviruses or if it will remain like the flu, which causes some 15,000 deaths each year, but it certainly won’t be what it has been until now,” del Val said.
Optmistic about protection provided
With regard to the different variants of the virus, such as the dreaded Delta variant that appears to be much more contagious, the virologist also shines a hopeful light on the effectiveness of vaccines.
To her knowledge, the vaccines are equally effective against all COVID-19 variants, no matter how much time has elapsed since vaccination.
“There is no major clinical associated with the variants,” del Val noted. “Protection against delta is the same as against alpha and is the same if we get infected freshly vaccinated as if we get infected months later.”
Furthermore, del Val explained that the amount of antibodies contained in the blood is not an indicator of resistance against the virus and that we should not allow ourselves to be “fooled” with that argument.
“The immune system is much more complete than just the antibodies, which is the only thing that is easy to measure, but let them stop deceiving us,” the virologist insisted.
“We are surrounded by infectious diseases. If against all infectious diseases we had the same amount of antibodies as the month we were infected, the blood would be full of antibodies and would be practically solid. That is not a measure of protection”.
The scientist says she is “very optimistic” about vaccines and the effect they will have on the pandemic, but she still sees COVID-19 as a major threat against those who have not been vaccinated.
“For the vaccinated, my level of optimism is very high, but I am exactly as pessimistic as before for people who have not been vaccinated,” del Val said, and she believes those people “have to get vaccinated.”
A virus “much more benign” than others
In another interview, given to the CMM channel, del Val goes further and affirms that, as of today and after having vaccinated a good part of the population, COVID-19 is a “much more benign” infection than other diseases, given that the vaccines have proved to be more powerful than expected.
“For people who are vaccinated, this virus is like any other infection out there, and even more benign,” del Val said. “It’s as if we’ve already been through this as children and are already immunized.”
Regarding the third dose, the specialist states that only immunosuppressed people or those with some health condition that requires maximum protection should consider a third dose of the vaccine if their doctor recommends it.
IMargarita del Val agrees with the prestigious Professor Sarah Gilbert, who said in September that a third dose of the vaccine is not necessary “for everyone” but only for vulnerable patients.