The national multivaccination and polio vaccination campaigns will have a D-Day this Saturday (17th), when children and adolescents up to 15 years old will be able to update the vaccination book at health centers. Children up to 5 years of age who are incomplete may also be immunized against polio, according to the National Vaccination Calendar.
Multivaccination and polio immunization are separate campaigns that are taking place at the same time; both will run until October 30th. All 18 vaccines provided for in the calendar will be offered free of charge by SUS.
Immunizations protect against about 20 diseases: BCG (tuberculosis); rotavirus (diarrhea); oral and intramuscular polio (infantile paralysis); pentavalent (diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, hepatitis B, Haemophilus influenza type b – Hib); pneumococcal; meningococcal; DTP; triple viral (measles, mumps and rubella); HPV (prevents cervical cancer and genital warts); in addition to vaccines against yellow fever, chickenpox and hepatitis A.
This year, a new vaccine, already included in the campaign, also joined the SUS: Meningo ACWY, which protects against meningitis and generalized infections, caused by the meningococcus bacteria types A, C, W and Y.
In the polio campaign, the goal of the Ministry of Health is to vaccinate about 11 million children aged 1 to 5 years old with the Oral Polio Vaccine (VOP) since they have already received the three doses of Inactivated Polio Vaccine (VIP) .
Children under the age of one year (up to 11 months and 29 days) should be vaccinated selectively, as indicated in the National Vaccination Calendar, with the VIP.
Fall in coverage
According to the National Immunization Program (PNI), until the beginning of October, vaccination coverage was 56.68% for childhood immunizations. Ideally, it should be between 90% and 95% to ensure protection against diseases such as measles (which has an ideal rate of 95%), whooping cough, meningitis and polio.
The low rate of immunization already has consequences: data from the Ministry of Health show that, until the beginning of August, the country had 7,700 confirmed cases of measles. Last year, Brazil lost its disease eradication certificate.
For Isabella Ballalai, pediatrician and vice president of the Brazilian Society of Immunizations (SBIm), the reason for the low coverage is the Covid-19 pandemic, which led people to stay at home and not go out to vaccinate their children.
“This situation is repeated all over the world. There was a fall between 30% and 50%”, says Ballalai. The doctor recalls that, despite the falls seen in immunization rates in Brazil in recent years, the country continues to have one of the best vaccination coverage in the world.
“This coverage is not just a number. Without vaccination coverage, we are susceptible to all these diseases – outbreaks of meningitis, return of polio”, recalls the pediatrician.
“These eliminated diseases are only eliminated because of vaccination”, points Ballalai.