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Do doses of vaccines that are too close together overload the body of children?

Vaccination in the first years of life is a fundamental strategy to prevent children and adolescents from developing serious forms of preventable diseases.

Despite the importance of immunization, epidemiological data show that, since 2016, Brazil has not been able to achieve desirable vaccine coverage for most diseases with immunizations available in the Unified Health System (SUS).

One of the reasons for the low adherence is the myth that the large number of vaccines given in the first 15 months of life overload the children’s immune system. The pediatrician and coordinator of the São Paulo State Immunization Program, Helena Keico Sato, this is a myth and that the application of more than one vaccine on the same day is a safe strategy.

“Studies show that the simultaneous application of vaccines is safe, effective and does not cause an increase in adverse reaction or exacerbated immune response, even if the vaccines are applied simultaneously or in combination – such as the pentavalent vaccine”, says the doctor, one of the speakers. of the 24th National Immunization Journey SBIm 2022, promoted by the Brazilian Society of Immunizations (SBIm), between 7 and 11/9 in São Paulo.

The doctor recalls that the vaccines available in the SUS undergo a rigorous quality control. “The technical standard [do Programa Nacional de Vacinação] makes all the indications about vaccination: age to be applied, interval between doses, storage”, he detailed.

Adverse reactions

The pediatrician points out that not all children have reactions after vaccination and, in cases of fever, local pain and other expected effects, medication to relieve symptoms can be administered according to medical advice.

“If we compare the reactions, such as fever and local pain, they are much milder than the disease”, points out Helena.

See the vaccines that should be given in the first four years of a child’s life:

Factors that contribute to low adherence to vaccines, according to the pediatrician:

  • Misleading perception that diseases such as measles, tetanus, polio and diphtheria have disappeared;
  • Fear that the high number of vaccines will overload the immune system;
  • Lack of knowledge about the vaccines available in the SUS calendar;
  • Fear of post-vaccine reaction;
  • Fake news;
  • Lack of time for parents to take their children to the vaccination post;
  • Shortage of vaccination posts.
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Low vaccine coverage

Ideally, vaccine coverage should be greater than 90% for BCG and rotavirus and greater than 95% for other vaccines. In the last six years, BCG vaccination coverage increased from 95.55% in 2016 to 68.27% in 2021. Poliomyelitis coverage increased from 84.43% to 69.10%, respectively.

* Reporter Bethânia Nunes was in São Paulo, at the invitation of the Brazilian Society of Immunizations (SBIm), to accompany the XXIV National Immunization Journey SBIm 2022.

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