This Saturday (15) is the D-day of measles vaccination throughout Brazil.
The vaccine is the only way to prevent measles from spreading. According to the Ministry of Health, anyone between six months and 59 years old should be vaccinated against the disease.
But the target audience for D-Day this Saturday is 3 million children and young people, aged between five and 19 years.
The Ministry of Health sent 3.9 million doses of measles vaccine across the country, 9% more than what was requested by the states. These doses will serve to interrupt the transmission of the virus and also for routine vaccination and an extra dose called zero dose: for babies from six months to 11 months and 29 days of age.
Those aged between one and 29 must take two doses. Between 30 and 59 years, only one dose. Anyone who does not remember having been vaccinated must go to the health center with a vaccination card.
That’s what 46-year-old tour guide Luciana da Silva Santos did: “I was unsure whether I had been immunized or not, so I thought it was best to take it”.
“If you don’t have a passbook, that’s fine. You will receive a vaccine as if you had not been vaccinated and this does not harm your health ”, explained Patrícia Guttmann, superintendent of Health Surveillance in Rio.
According to doctors, the vaccine is contraindicated for pregnant women, people with immunodeficiency and those who have a fever. But anyone who has just given birth or is breastfeeding should be vaccinated.
In 2020, 337 cases of the disease in the country have already been confirmed; 67% of cases are in the Southeast: São Paulo and Rio. Measles is a serious and highly contagious disease.
“A person can transmit between 12 to 20 new cases. So, it is one of the diseases, compared to flu, about ten times more ”, evaluated André Siqueira, an infectologist at Fiocruz.
The main symptoms are fever, cough, irritation in the eyes, discharge from the nose and red spots on the body. If there are complications, it can lead to death.
That’s what happened to little Davi Gabriel, eight months old, in Rio. He died on January 6, but the cause has only been confirmed now. According to the State Department of Health, the baby did not take the dose because he was not yet six months old at the time the vaccination took place in the shelter where he lived. It is the first death in the state in 23 years.
“We cannot accept any death from an immunopreventable disease. I hope that this child, who unfortunately lost his life, will serve as an example to other parents so that the same thing does not happen to their children. I am sure that families, with parents and guardians, will go tomorrow, on D-Day, to take their children to be vaccinated ”, says Wanderson Kleber de Oliveira, National Secretary for Health Surveillance.