If the population does not go to the vaccine, the vaccine goes to the population. At least, that’s what the city of Salvador decided to bet on. On Tuesday (6), the Municipal Health Department (SMS), in partnership with the Education Ministry (Smed), began an active search in schools in the municipal education network, to apply doses against poliomyelitis – or infantile paralysis. — and multi-vaccination, which provides 18 vaccines from the National Vaccination Calendar for children and adolescents under 15 years of age. On the first day of action, ten institutions were covered from the Ribeira neighborhood, in Cidade Baixa, to Cajazeiras X. Altogether, more than 500 students were vaccinated on Tuesday.
Ironically, the vaccination against polio, administered, since 2016, in five doses – two of them, as a booster, with the famous ‘drop’ – has advanced by dropper: since the beginning of the campaign, on August 8 , more than 32,000 children under the age of 5 who live in the municipality attended the posts to protect themselves against polio. The number corresponds to only about 20% of the 152 thousand small ones that make up the target audience in the city, although the goal is to reach 95%. In the case of multi-vaccination, aimed at a population of 497,000 young people under the age of 15, coverage is 11%, with just over 58,000 booklets updated.
In this sense, according to the secretary of SMS, Decio Martins, the active search in schools aims to facilitate access to vaccination and has no deadline. “The expectation is to vaccinate our entire target audience”, he says. “All the children that are in school we intend to reach and immunize as many people as possible”, he adds. The holder of Smed, Marcelo Oliveira, recalls that the vaccination certificate is required from those responsible during the registration of the child or adolescent. He highlights the role of this body in the campaign. “Eventually, this certificate [de vacinação] it is incomplete. We do not reject the registration of any child, but we guide parents who go to a health center to complete the vaccination schedule, and we try to follow this up”, she explains.
Unavailability represents an obstacle
Another point raised by the municipal secretary of Education is that the strategy is an alternative to the lack of time due to the accelerated work routine of those responsible for the children. “The idea of bringing the health center into the school is a way for you to spare parents the effort of taking them to the clinic when they are working”. This is the case of the attendant Érica Carvalho, 20, mother of João Miguel, 6, who studies at the First Step Nursery and Preschool, in Cajazeiras X, and who had delayed vaccines. “I took advantage of this ‘little time’, this opportunity, to put everything in order”, she says.
The initiative is capable of contemplating even those tutors who are not available to accompany the child or adolescent during vaccination at school. In this case, it is necessary to authorize the application of the immunizer by means of a prior declaration. According to Islaine de Oliveira, 30, a teacher in group 3 at the same institution, acceptance in her class has been great. “I got a lot of adhesion here, in my room. Good part [dos pais] accepted and even thanked him”, he says. Enthusiastic, the educator reveals that the consent was considerable even on the part of the little ones. “[Os pequenos] They behaved, and some who already had a card [de vacinação] complete, even so, they ask if they are not going to take the ‘drop’.”
Low polio vaccination rates worry
Despite being certified by the World Health Organization (WHO) as polio-free in 1994, Brazil has not met, since 2015, the goal of vaccinating 95% of the target audience, according to the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation (Fiocruz). Caused by the wild poliovirus, the disease can cause milder symptoms, such as those of a common cold, as well as serious problems in the nervous system, such as irreversible paralysis — especially in children under 5 years of age.
In addition to the lack of availability, the coordinator of Immunizations in Salvador, Doiane Lemos, attributes the low demand for protection to several factors, from the lack of availability to take the child or adolescent to a health center to the feeling of not being ‘seeing ‘ the disease. “There is no single reason for this. [baixa procura]. [As pessoas] They let their guard down, that is, they don’t fear, because they don’t know what polio, measles or a serious condition of meningitis is”, he evaluates. “So, polio, precisely, is not happening because we are being vaccinated”, he concludes.
Another possible reason for the low rates of both polio vaccination and multi-vaccination is the concern that there will be some adverse reaction if these doses are administered within a short period of time in relation to the immunizer against Covid-19, whose campaign is still ongoing. . The Ministry of Health, however, clarifies that these vaccines can be applied to the population from 3 years of age within any interval – and even simultaneously – compared to other vaccines in the National Vaccination Calendar.
Vaccines available throughout the year
The Ministry of Health announced, on Tuesday (6), the extension of national multi-vaccination and polio campaigns. The initial forecast was that the strategies would be until this Friday (9). Now, parents and guardians have until the 30th to seek one of the 156 health posts in the municipal network and update the children’s and adolescents’ booklet. The units are open from Monday to Friday, except holidays, between 8 am and 5 pm.
The doses are available at health posts across the country throughout the year. They are: hepatitis A and B; pentavalent (DTP/Hib/Hep.B); 10-valent pneumococcal (VPC10); inactivated polio (VIP); oral poliomyelitis (OPV); human rotavirus (HRV); meningococcal C (conjugated); yellow fever; MMR (measles, rubella and mumps); tetraviral (measles, rubella, mumps and chickenpox); DTP (triple bacterial); varicella; and quadrivalent HPV (human papillomavirus). For teenagers, HPV vaccines are available; dT (adult duo); yellow fever; MMR; Hepatitis B; dTpa; and meningococcal ACWY (conjugated). All immunizers that are part of the National Immunization Program (PNI) are safe and are registered by the National Health Surveillance Agency (Anvisa).
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