Three Vaccine Dose Requirement Coming to Peru

Last night the Ministry of Health released the following press release:

All citizens over 18 years of age must have three doses of the COVID-19 vaccine in order to enter any public or private establishment, as agreed tonight in the Council of Ministers at the proposal of the Ministry of Health (Minsa).

Minister Hernán Condori Machado indicated that this measure is necessary to protect the population from the pandemic since, although the number of infections has decreased, there may still be a resurgence.

It was reported that the supreme decree formalizing this measure will be published in the next few days by the Presidency of the Council of Ministers in the official newspaper El Peruano.

It should be noted that different scientific studies have shown that the antibodies provided by vaccines against COVID-19, or by disease, decay in the following months; moreover, in the case of the omicron variant, three doses are necessary to acquire adequate protection.

The head of Minsa announced that, in order to facilitate the vaccination of those over 18 years of age, vaccination centers will remain open for 36 hours this weekend.

According to public information, to date, 11,935,794 third doses have been applied to people over 18 years of age in the country, when the total population of this age group is 24,964,920.

In a press conference, Prime Minister Anibal said this measure will go into effect on April 1.

Torres urged those who still do not have the third dose of the COVID-19 vaccine to get their third dose. He also pointed out that this measure includes public sector workers and warned that anyone who does not have all three doses could lose their job.

“As we have said the vaccine is not mandatory, “said Torres, “but whoever makes the decision not to be vaccinated has no right to harm others. People who, for example, work in the public sector and who do not have the three doses, cannot return to work and run the risk of losing their job.”

The Minister of Health indicated that this obligatory nature will lead more people to seek immunization against COVID-19. He specified that vaccination centers are seeing fewer people than in previous weeks due to a “false sense of security” of those who have two doses of the vaccine.

He added that 16 cases of the BA2 Omicron variant of COVID-19 have been detected in Peru since the end of January, for which reason the third dose will be required, not as a booster dose, but as part of the traditional scheme. In this line, the Executive indicated that the possibility of applying a fourth booster dose is being evaluated.

The BA2 variant is 85% more contagious than the extremely contagious original Omicron variant. Right now 47.8% of the population over 18 years of age has received the third vaccine dose.

“They have to get it (the vaccine) to be able to enter the coliseums, the stadiums, their work activities, when they are going to travel to the national territories, at the entrance to closed environments, to all the shopping centers, they have to present their vaccination card with the third dose”, said the Minister of Health.

There was no mention of acceptance of recent negative PCR tests being used in place of the third dose, but that may be included in the final Decree.

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