Children

After six months, 40% of children still have not received any dose of the covid vaccine

When businesswoman Cassia Mitikami confirmed that her 9-year-old daughter had Covid-19, the concern soon showed confidence in Kora’s speedy recovery, as the girl had already taken the first dose of the vaccine. In fact, he recovered within a few days. But the results may not be the same for millions of Brazilian children who have not yet been vaccinated.

Six months after Anvisa approved vaccination for children aged 5 to 11, about 40% of them did not receive any dose of the vaccine, according to data from the Ministry of Health analyzed by the Ministry of Health. Reporter Brazil. In other words, about 7.5 million boys and girls of this age are completely unprotected.

The rate of failure is also measured by looking at the rates of those who were fully vaccinated: only 38% of these children have both doses of protection against covid. Among Indigenous children, the rate is even worse: according to the Indigenous Health Secretary, only 24% have been fully vaccinated.

The low rate of early childhood immunization against covid also raises doubts about the effectiveness of the next phase of the campaign, which should target the younger age group between 6 months and 4 years.

This year alone, 395 children between the ages of 0 and 11 have died from covid, according to the ministry. The mortality rate is the same as in previous years, when the vaccinator was not yet available. Every last year, 772 people died and in 2020, 738 people were infected.

Maria Claudia Matos, a pediatric infectious disease specialist at UFBA University Hospital, said: “We do not consider it normal to lose 50 lives, 100 lives for a disease for which there is already a vaccine.”

Explains several reasons for the failure of the childhood immunization campaign – mostly linked to the failure of public relations and the opposition of the Ministry of Health and President Zaire Bolsonaro (PL) to anti-vaccination.

Six months after the Anvisa childhood vaccination, about 40% of children between the ages of 5 and 11 have not yet received the first dose of the vaccine against Covid-19 and remain unprotected (Photo: Sandro Araujo / Agencia Saude DF)

“It simply came to our notice then [a vacina]With a president who does not vaccinate his daughter, and a minister who seeks to pass a law that requires a medical prescription to be vaccinated, “said Renato Cafouri, pediatric infectious disease specialist and president of the immunization department at the Brazilian Society of Pediatrics. SBP). “Parents always protect their children and take the back seat, but for the first time in vaccine history, vaccinated parents did not want to protect their children.”

Wanted by Reporter BrazilThe health ministry has denied delays and problems with childhood immunizations, saying it has already distributed more than 27 million doses to children and adolescents between the ages of 6 and 17 (read more below).

The children were vaccinated by Anvisa (National Health Surveillance Agency) on December 16, 2021, after the agency approved Pfizer’s pediatric immunizer. However, the Ministry of Health took about a month to include the group in the immunization plan against Kovid – a delay that helped create insecurity about vaccination for this age group.

To listen for experts Reporter BrazilThe federal government’s reluctance to start vaccinations quickly, as well as the authorities ‘official statement against vaccinators, undermined parents’ confidence early in the campaign.

The main criticism comes from Bolsonaro, who has repeatedly questioned the safety of immunizers and denied the need for vaccinations. In December, the president threatened to expose Anvisa officials responsible for approving the vaccine, and a few days later, he said his own 11-year-old daughter would not be vaccinated.

Pfizer’s pediatric vaccine was first published by Anvisa for children aged 5 to 11 years. Butantan Institute has been trying to approve Coronavac for children 3 years of age or older since April (Photo: Mike Sena / MS)

Also, the health ministry took a public consultation before the campaign, which delayed the start of vaccinations. To make matters worse, the folder declares that vaccination will not be compulsory – although the Statute of Children and Adolescents (ECA) defines it as “mandatory to vaccinate children in cases recommended by the health authorities”.

“It simply came to our notice then

Following the approval of Pfizer Immunizer, Anvisa approved the emergency use of Coronavac, developed by the Butantan Institute for children and adolescents between the ages of 6 and 17. Nevertheless, the vaccine was not taken.

Also read:

The government took eight months to start vaccinating adolescents on the Amazon’s indigenous lands

With epidemics and declining advertising funding, childhood vaccines have dropped to their worst level in three decades.

Another justification for low loyalty is the false feeling that the epidemic is over and that Kovid is no longer a threat. This happened, according to experts, because childhood vaccinations began at the time of falling cases and deaths. In January, the daily average death toll was 523, compared to 143 this Wednesday (the 15th). In March 2021, at the height of the second wave, the daily average was 2,971, according to the Press Consortium.

In addition, the population mistakenly believes that children are at risk of contracting the disease or developing more serious symptoms. Although they are less likely to be hospitalized for Kovid, the risk of the disease cannot be ignored, Kefouri said.

At the last joint meeting with the union, state and municipality, at the end of May, KANAS (National Council of Health Secretaries) indicated the 2nd dose for children as the country’s main “critical” coverage. In a note Reporter BrazilThe agency noted that in recent weeks there has been an increase in the incidence of severe respiratory syndrome in children – especially covid and respiratory syncytial viruses – especially among those under five years of age, along with an increase in demand for pediatric ICU beds.

Pediatrician Matos also highlights the risk of pediatric multisystem inflammatory syndrome (SIM-P), which occurs weeks after covid infection. This condition causes symptoms such as gastrointestinal and cardiovascular problems and persistent fever, which can lead to death. As of May, 113 people in the country had died of the syndrome, 32 among children aged 1 to 4 and 29 among those aged 5 to 9, according to the Butantan Institute.

Despite obstacles to childhood vaccination, Quiroga told a hearing in the Federal Senate in March that “there was not a second delay in vaccination. [infantil](Photo: Valter Campanato / Agencia Brasil)

For experts, good communication campaigns should fight against misinformation, which is not the case. The ministry did not comment on the report.

The health ministry said there had been no delays in the acquisition and inclusion of pediatric vaccines in the campaign, adding that it had saved doses with the approval of Anvisa Immunizer and that the first batches had only arrived on January 13, “considering shorter delivery time. Necessary production and logistics”.

The failure of the childhood immunization campaign has so far raised a warning to vaccinate children aged six months to 5 years, who will soon be included in the campaign.

“If we don’t correct the mistakes, the same problems will happen to the little ones,” Matos said.

A study conducted by the Covid-19 Immunization Technical Advisory Board indicates that coronavirus is more serious in people up to 5 years of age. In 2020 and 2021, SARS-Cov-2 killed 1,449 children aged 11 years, 1,148 children aged 0-4 (79% of total) and 301 children aged 5-11 years. (21% of total).

Dosage application, however, still depends on Anvisa approval. Preliminary data from a study show the high efficacy of the Pfizer vaccine in children aged six months to 5 years. The agency has promised to submit a request to the health agency for vaccination in Brazil, but it is not known when.

Butantan has been trying to get Coronavak approved for children under 3 since April. After classifying the data presented by the laboratory as “insufficient”, Anvisa received new information on June 1st. In a note, the agency said it had met with representatives of medical societies and the agencies would have to send feedback on the vaccine’s indication extension by June 17.

Edit: Diego Junquira

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