Peru: Why is it necessary to receive COVID-19 vaccine fourth dose if you are already 40

Photo: ANDINA/EsSalud

Photo: ANDINA/EsSalud

16:12 | Lima, Jul. 5.

Since the beginning of its administration in Peru on April 2, more than 2 million people have already received the fourth dose of the vaccine against COVID-19 in the South American country.

People aged 40 and above and the vulnerable population, starting at 18 years old, already receive it.

Minsa specialists explain below why it is necessary to receive the latest dose, as well as what scientific evidence says about its safety and effectiveness.

According to Minsa's Immunizations Director Maria Elena Martinez, there is scientific evidence which confirms that immunity capacity emerging from the vaccine against COVID-19 begins to decrease after 4 months of its administration.

Likewise, the official said that the appearance of Omicron variant's new sublineages has triggered an increase in infections over recent weeks. Therefore, it is necessary to reinforce vaccination —especially among the vulnerable population.

"Given this situation, we must protect vulnerable groups, those over 50 to 70 years old. The virus is beating us because we see that there are people who are not completing (the vaccination scheme), and they become unprotected once immunity has expired," Martinez warned.

"(However,) If they are protected, they can cope with a mild illness like a cold (...)," she added in statements to Andina news agency.

Which vaccines are applied in Peru?

"Both are safe and of high quality," she pointed out.

The Minsa official clarified that those who visit vaccination centers in search of the fourth dose must have allowed 5 months to pass after the administration of the third dose. Otherwise, it will not proceed.

"Five months must have passed, this information is based on scientific research," she noted.

Similarly, Martinez explained that all those who have completed receiving the third dose last January should go for the next dose in the following days.

The administration of a fourth dose is only allowed among people aged 40 and above, health personnel, and immunosuppressed people.

After lamenting the presence of anti-vaccine groups among the population aged 40-49, Martinez called on the population to visit vaccination centers in order to receive the fourth dose and not to lower the guard, because the pandemic is not over. Besides, an increase in cases has been reported nationwide.

The decision by Minsa to administer the latest dose was made based on recommendations of the Committee of Experts on Immunizations. It is similar to that adopted by health organizations in other countries such as the United States —through the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Moreover, the official reminded citizens that Peru is carrying out one of the most extensive vaccination processes in South America, ranking third in the region, after Chile and Uruguay —in terms of percentage of the population protected against the new coronavirus.


For her part, infectious disease specialist at the National Health Institute (INS) Natalia Vargas underlined the need to get a fourth dose so as to be protected against the latest wave.

As is known, Minsa announced the beginning of the fourth wave on June 26, taking into account the increase in cases due to the appearance of Omicron variant's sublineages and once it had been verified that the effectiveness of each vaccine decreases after 4 months of administration.

"Let's remember that immunity decreases gradually. Thus, it is important, every so often, to receive a fourth dose (…)," Vargas emphasized in statements to Andina news agency.


Published: 7/5/2022
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