By Ottavio Augusto
Amid an outbreak of influenza caused by the H3N2 virus, Brazil has halted 12 million doses of the vaccine against the disease. This is because Brazilians do not require vaccination.
For professionals, a low vaccination rate could trigger an epidemic and exacerbate the scenario during the Covid-19 pandemic, a disease caused by the novel coronavirus.
Of the 80 million doses distributed by the Ministry of Health, only 67.9 million reached Brazilians. This represents 84% of the total.
The data was analyzed by Metrópoles, based on materials published by LocalizaSUS, the accountability platform of the Ministry of Health.
Today, the time interval between the application of Covid-19 and influenza vaccines is not necessary.
A Metropolis survey published on December 29 found that at least 2,900 cases of H3N2 have been reported, with 21 people dying from complications of the disease.
The union units that reported the most influenza cases were Amazonas, Bahia, Rondonia, Ceará, and Pernambuco. At least six states have reported deaths after infection with H3N2: Rio de Janeiro, Bahia, Pernambuco, Paraná, Espírito Santo and Rio Grande do Sul.
Despite the numbers, health authorities are still not treating the situation as a pandemic.
From the start of the campaign, in April, the health authorities feared that the pledge would not reach the target audience due to influenza vaccination.
In an effort to expand coverage, in July the Ministry of Health issued doses for all age groups.
The medical scientific community recognizes that we have been less protected in the past two years due to the low incidence of influenza. The recent easing of social isolation measures has made the population even more vulnerable.
For the Minister of Health of Pernambuco, André Longo, the situation is serious and requires attention. He said Thursday (12/30), at a press conference, when he announced that within 24 hours, the number of deaths from the disease in the state had risen from 5 to 11.
Infection scientist Joanna Dark Gonçalves, MSc in Tropical Medicine from the University of Brasilia (UnB), explains that a vaccine is necessary, even though it does not contain the circulating strain.
“The vaccine does not contain the variant responsible for the outbreak. The variant will be included next year. A lot of people should have been vaccinated and this should help [a diminuir adoecimentos]’, Friesa.
The epidemic has also affected the landscape. Many people were confused and some were not immunized. The issue of the breaks ended up leaving people confused. He concludes that a large group ended up not being vaccinated, which is a bad thing.
Metropolis contacted the Health Department so that the department could comment on testing rates in the country and say if it considered them low, but had not received a response until this report was published. Space is still open for clarification.
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