I am in that difficult age, the crisis of 60. Until two days ago I belonged to the group of 60-65 years that would receive the AstraZeneca vaccine. Now I am assigned to the 60-69, although I have not noticed any physiological changes because of it. My brother is 72 and has been touching the border of the vaccine paradise, on the outside. It is possible that they vaccinate me before him, against all rational criteria. If the crisis of the forties is about the irreversible farewell to youth, the sixties consists above all in looking at your elders and putting your beards to soak. Your concern does not revolve around the autumn in which you live, but the eternal winter that awaits you on the other side of the river. But hey, I suppose that will happen at 65, just as the crisis of forty prescribes at 45. Law of life.
After this great metaphysical introduction and bordering on the cake, let’s take a look at the numbers following the solvent mathematical analysis of Kiko Llaneras, data expert for this newspaper. A person aged 60 to 69 years, like the one speaking to you, has a two per million (0.0002%) chance of suffering a thrombus from having received the AstraZeneca vaccine. If you don’t get vaccinated and you get infected, your risk of entering the ICU is 140 per million (0.001%), or seventy times more. Only with that data, derived from the British experience, would I get vaccinated.
Refusing the AstraZeneca vaccine, like refusing vaccines in general, is a mistake at any age, but at mine it reaches the category of stupidity
But that assumes a low incidence of contagion. With a high incidence, such as that exhibited in my city, the risk of becoming ill with severe covid multiplies by 200 at age 65, and therefore the advantage of being vaccinated amounts to 14,000 times. Refusing the AstraZeneca vaccine, like refusing vaccines in general, is a mistake at any age, but at mine it reaches the category of stupidity.
Twenty-somethings are an exception, however. At his age, the virus loses so much steam that the risk of becoming seriously ill is similar to that of suffering a thrombus from AstraZeneca: both extremely low. Hence, the British regulator has preferred to vaccinate people aged 20-29 years, when they are due, with any other product. With that caveat, the benefits of vaccination with AstraZeneca are overwhelming for anyone over the age of 30. The age limits that Spain and the other European countries are testing do not seem designed by scientists, but by lawyers trying to avoid future lawsuits or electoral costs. A serious political error, and not one of the easiest to correct.
The priority in Spain is to vaccinate all people at risk as soon as possible, with particular emphasis on the elderly and chronic respiratory patients. That I get vaccinated before my 72-year-old brother does not make the slightest sense. AstraZeneca thrombi are like a firecracker at a concert, where people end up dying trying to escape. Hard times for ethics.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.