Posted on 04/29/2022 06:00
(Credit: Estado de Minas)
Experts are concerned about the low coverage of immunizations in Brazil. Diseases such as measles, chickenpox, rubella and mumps, which have already been eradicated from the country, are at risk of re-emerging and creating a new wave of infection while vaccination against Kovid-19 in children is still being discussed.
Vaccination is the most effective way to prevent these diseases, so the consequences of declining vaccination rates in Brazil cannot be ignored. Measles cases have already been recorded in the country this year and this raises concerns about the need to raise awareness among parents and guardians about the importance of keeping their children’s immunization schedule up to date, including protection against diseases like polio, flu, measles, mumps, rubella. And meningitis.
In 2016, the Pan American Health Agency certified that Brazil had eradicated the measles virus. But in 2019, the Ministry of Health recorded about 12,000 new cases of the disease. In four years, measles has killed more than 40,000 people and killed 40, half of them in children under 5.
As a precaution, vaccine coverage is ideal for more than 90% of the population, but the country’s general immunization rate has been below this index since 2012, reaching 50.4% in 2016. Last year, according to the Ministry of Health, this percentage was 60.7%.
One of the major vaccines in the National Immunization Program (PNI) is the triple viral vaccine (against measles, mumps and rubella), whose coverage dropped to 71.4% last year, leading to a new measles outbreak. The disease, in more severe cases, can cause pneumonia and inflammation of the brain, leading to death.
Demand for another vaccine against polio is declining. With the exception of Zé Gotinha campaigns that encouraged vaccination in the first years of life, coverage dropped from 96.5% in 2012 to 67.6% last year. The disease was considered extinct in Brazil in 1989, when the last case occurred, but it is another pathology that is at risk of recurrence.
In addition to these health experts concerned about meningitis. The disease, which appeared in Brazil in 1906 and was the largest outbreak recorded in 1970, was only a mass vaccine in 1975. On Monday, World Meningitis Day was observed, with the aim of promoting the importance of prevention, diagnosis and mass vaccination. . Like other diseases that affect children, vaccines are included in the Unified Health System (SUS) calendar.
According to PNI, Brazil did not meet any coverage target for the 2020 childhood vaccines. Vaccination was only 75% in 2021, which has exacerbated the decline in the last six years In a recent interview, Renato Cafouri, director of the Brazilian Society of Immunization (SBIM), said that the number of vaccinated children had been declining since 2015 and had intensified in the two years since the epidemic began.
There is a need to invest in public policies that look for strategies to ensure that the country achieves what it has achieved in vaccination. In this growing context of the anti-vaccination movement – which has been intensified by the Kovid-19 epidemic – the fight against fake news and the dissemination of information and awareness are fundamental steps to prevent the return of the disease.