The COVID passport is one of the tools raised by the communities to try to stop a new wave and deal with the Omicron variant. For now it is operational in seven communities. The Valencian Community plans to enter into force this Friday. The report of the specialists who make up the Alerts Report of the Interterritorial Council of the National Health System, to which Cadena SER has had access, estimates more unfavorable aspects (eight) than favorable (four) as an effective tool.
Among the points in favor of this passport is “encouraging the vaccination of some people who have not yet received the recommended guidelines”, while “transmitting the message that there continues to be a risk of infection by SARS-CoV-2, and that the population has the perception that measures to reduce this risk are still necessary. ”
The report also highlights that it can “encourage the need for vaccination to continue to be assumed by the population as a measure of social responsibility.”
Unfavorable aspects of the COVID passport
The document also takes into account the experience in other countries. “There is no evidence that this measure has an effect on reducing the transmission of SARS-CoV-2. In the countries of the European environment where it is being used, cases are increasing significantly, although it is true that its coverage vaccination rates are much lower than those in Spain. It is foreseeable that the effect in Spain, with higher coverage, will still be less “, you can read.
The technicians also maintain that having the COVID passport does not really reflect the immune status. And he explains it: “He equates being vaccinated with being immunized and this does not fit reality. Vaccination prevents serious forms of the disease in a very important way (90 to 99% against hospitalization, 90 to 95% against mortality. ), but the effectiveness to prevent infection and mild forms of disease is much lower, around 60%. We know that approximately 40% of those vaccinated are susceptible to becoming infected and transmitting the infection. For all this, its usefulness to prevent transmission it would be very limited and could even have a negative impact if prevention measures were relaxed. “
The importance of prevention measures
“There is a clear risk that its use could lead to the relaxation of preventive measures indoors (especially a decrease in the use of the mask) as these people feel more protected by being in an environment in which the certificate has been required. It has also been seen in vaccine effectiveness studies that, when the index case and its contacts are vaccinated, there are more infections due to a greater relaxation of measures than if the contacts are not vaccinated, “the document explains.
Another drawback is the difficulty to start it up in an operational way. “In Spain, approximately 90% of those over 12 are vaccinated, so the gain in vaccination coverage would not be very important,” say the technicians.
The cases in which the COVID passport can be useful
“The presentation sees the request for this certificate more justified in health and social health centers, both for visits and for workers (taking into account the labor aspects of this measure), or in specific areas such as prisons, since this is where there are an important group of vulnerable people “, explains the document.
And it ends with a final notice: “If it is decided to apply, it should be done before December celebrations (December bridge and Christmas holidays)”.
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.