Children between the ages of 0 and 4 are more at risk for the new coronavirus than children between the ages of 5 and 11, the age group that has entered the national immunization plan against Covid-19.
Officially, 1,544 deaths of children between the ages of 19 and 0 have been recorded in Brazil since the onset of the epidemic. In all, 5 to 11 of the 324 were among them. Between 0 and 4, the death toll rose to 1,220, representing almost four times the number of incidents above the 5-plus limit.
In 2021, according to IBGE, the country had 14.7 million children aged 0 to 4 years and 20.5 million children aged 5 to 11 years.
A study of Vital Strategies – a global organization of experts and researchers working with the government – also evaluates that data is under-reported and there are plans to eliminate 2,537 deaths on the Covid Balance Sheet.
This is because, in some SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) there is no definitive cause of death, so death enters the statistics as SARS for an indefinite cause.
Through this, an estimated total of 4,081 children may die due to covid. The number will then reach 3,249 from 0 to 4 years and 832, 5 to 11 years.
When asked about under-reporting and speculation by Vital Strategies, the Ministry of Health did not respond.
Fatima Marinho, an epidemiologist and senior specialist in vital strategies, explains that there are a number of factors that lead to a lack of diagnosis, such as poor testing, poor health and unequal access to care.
SARS is a patient’s condition that can be caused by both the new coronavirus and other respiratory viruses, such as H1N1, the infectious agent of influenza A (flu). The data was collected at the Ministry of Health’s Sewap-Grip (Influenza Epidemiological Surveillance Information System).
Marinho said that in order to reach this projection, a redistribution of unspecified SARS deaths was made in the case of 2018 and 2019 – considering the historical series of years prior to the epidemic.
The extra number was reclassified by other respiratory viruses, such as covid and influenza. There has been an outbreak of unspecified deaths by SARS in 2020 and 2021, indicating the predominance of the new coronavirus.
“Different clinics are less likely to diagnose psoriasis in children [sintomas]. Symptoms of covid in children are diarrhea, abdominal pain, cough, often without some classic symptoms such as fever, shortness of breath. In parallel, there are fewer tests that contribute to the non-identification of Covid-19, “said Marinho.
Data show that Covid-19 affected more children aged 0 to 4 years. The age group that, according to experts, will continue to be more at risk for the disease because they still cannot receive the vaccine. In some countries, children between the ages of 3 and 4 are already approved for vaccination
In Brazil, there are two immunizing agents approved by ANVISA (National Health Surveillance Agency). Pfizer’s is available for 5 year olds and Coronavac for 6 year olds
Renato Kafuri, President of the Immunization Division of the SBP (Brazilian Society of Pediatrics), agrees that there is less reporting in Brazil. According to him, other countries also have the highest number of deaths among children under 5 years of age.
According to doctors, the immune system of these children is more immature and they do not respond to infections like adults. Therefore, vaccination against other diseases begins in the first months of life.
“Children at this age will continue to be vulnerable [para Covid]. That’s why qualified people [crianças mais velhas, adolescentes e adultos] You need to get vaccinated, wear a mask, and wash your hands to help reduce the spread of the virus, “he said.
Adriana de Godo Janiolo, 41, a housewife, gave birth to her third child during the epidemic in Rio Claro, inside Sao Paulo, at the start of the Covid vaccine campaign in Brazil. As a result, he has not yet been vaccinated.
On March 10, 2021, in the early hours of Matthews de Godoy Marangoni’s life in Thuisinho, the baby was transferred to the ICU (Intensive Care Unit).
Adriana said she had a smooth pregnancy and her son was born healthy. That day, the baby starts to cry as if he wants to cry but can’t. Also, oxygenation was low.
The prediction was that he would soon return to his parents’ arms, but with each visit the boy appears to be getting worse. According to the mother, the procedures were performed in an attempt to find out what she had. On the third day, the family informed him that he had covid.
From that moment on, the doctors isolated the baby and asked Adriana to have a test, which was positive. The next day, Thuisinho died.
“Everything that happens seems unbelievable, it looks like the chip hasn’t sunk yet. Everyone is ready for my son, he was born so perfect and from nowhere the world seems to have collapsed. Every time we went to the ICU there was no doctor’s diagnosis. I know I I changed my medicine all the time, “said Adriana.
To avoid deaths among minors, Flavia Bravo, director of Sbim (Brazilian Society of Immunization), said she believes the vaccine against covid would not take long to reach those under 5 years of age.
However, although there is no vaccine for the general public, there is a need to focus more on coverage of those who can be vaccinated to control disease and infection.
According to doctors, studies are beginning to focus on the people who die the most, who are adults in this case. Not long ago, children were drawn to this group and, now, need to wait for the time of science, he says.
A number of factors are taken into consideration before starting vaccination, such as determining the correct dosage, vaccination schedule, and anticipation of adverse events. “We cannot underestimate the numbers, and science is looking for a solution for this age. Even if it takes time, it will come. In the meantime, it must protect the non-vaccinated by vaccinating others,” Bravo said.
The Butantan Institute’s request to Anvisa was to use the dose for children under 3 years of age. However, the agency realized that up to that age there was not enough data to reduce the vaccine against Covid-19.
The institute is now waiting to send the results of a Chilean study of children aged 3 to 5 to their regulatory body. It is expected to be held later this year.
In an interview with Dr. SheetPresident of Pfizer in Brazil, Martha Diz, Dr. The pharmaceutical company wants to request Anvisa to approve the use of the Covid-19 vaccine in children aged 6 months to 5 years this year. In a note, the laboratory said there was no date for submission yet.
The Ministry of Health in an agreement with Pfizer provides for the possibility of obtaining doses for children aged 0 to 4 years if the vaccine is approved by the regulatory body.
Not only is death less reported but also hospitalization. Health Ministry data show that 18,326 people aged 0 to 4 years and 6,802 children aged 5 to 11 were hospitalized.
However, Brazil already has 92,837 hospitalizations for children aged 0 to 4 years and 39,584 hospitalizations for children aged 5 to 11 years.
Marinho of Vital Strategy says that an effective testing policy is essential for case control in children. However, he noted that almost two years after the epidemic, there is still no unified strategy.
Doctors, however, considered that children who would not be able to get the vaccine would be vulnerable and would follow the epidemic curve – as the number of infections and deaths increased, it also occurred in children, but in a smaller proportion than in adults.
“Illness mainly occurs in the poorest and blackest children. Many already have many respiratory problems because of the environment in which they live, unsafe housing, without basic sanitation, and many people per household, which increases the risk of infectious diseases, especially respiratory diseases.” Says Marinho.