Thursday, November 30, 2023

COVID roundup: First half of 2021 sees more young people dying

COVID-19 deaths among Mexicans aged under 60 exceeded those among people above that age in the first half of 2021, according to data cited by the Pan American Health Organization and the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean.

“During the new wave of the disease in 2021, the increased transmissibility and consequent rise in severe cases resulted in deaths among individuals who were not originally considered at risk of dying, since they did not have co-morbidities or pre-existing chronic diseases, nor were they in the age group initially thought to be at risk,” the two organizations said in a joint report published Thursday.

A graph published in the report showed that deaths among people aged below 60 made up about 40% or less of total COVID deaths in Mexico during most of last year and the first three months of 2021. However, deaths among younger people as a percentage of total COVID fatalities began to rise in April before reaching about 50% in May and almost 60% in June.

Deaths among people aged below 60 as a percentage of total fatalities also rose in other Latin American countries this year but the only one with a higher percentage of deaths among that cohort than Mexico was Costa Rica.

“This pattern may have been generated not only by the emergence of new variants, but also by the fact that older people were vaccinated before younger ones. Consequently, experts have called for increased vaccination rates in developing countries and vaccination at younger ages,” the report said.

In other COVID-19 news:

• Two Mexican doctors have warned against the practice of mixing and matching COVID-19 vaccines.

Some Mexicans vaccinated with the Sputnik V and CanSino vaccines are considering getting, or have already gotten, another jab made by a different manufacturer so they don’t fall foul of United States rules that will require incoming travelers to be fully vaccinated with World Health Organization-approved shots.

Andreu Comas, a virologist, told the newspaper Reforma that it’s not yet known whether mixing and maxing vaccines is safe, although a United States National Institutes of Health study, which hasn’t yet been peer reviewed, found that combinations of  Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson shots are safe and effective.

A former president of the Mexican Society of Public Health, warned people vaccinated with either Sputnik or CanSino not to get another shot made by a different manufacturer.

“The risk could be a reaction or serious adverse event,” Miguel Betancourt said.

• More than 109.8 million vaccine doses have been administered in Mexico after more than 857,000 shots were given Wednesday. About three-quarters of Mexican adults have had at least one shot, and 75% of those who have had one dose have had a second shot.

• Mexico’s accumulated case tally rose to just under 3.74 million on Wednesday with 6,320 new infections reported while the official COVID-19 death toll increased by 420 to 283,193. There are just over 40,000 estimated active cases.

With reports from Reforma

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