The Ministry of Health and medical and scientific entities met this Tuesday morning (18). in São Paulo, to discuss joint actions to encourage vaccination in Brazil. The meeting is one of the actions of the National Movement for Vaccination to expand vaccination coverage and rescue the vaccination culture in the country. This year the National Immunization Program (PNI) completes 50 years, with 47 immunizers and the worldwide recognition of being the most complete and efficient in the world.
However, according to the secretary of Health and Environment Surveillance of the Ministry of Health, Ethel Maciel, since 2015, a scenario of low vaccination coverage has been observed in the country and during the covid-19 pandemic, due to the increase in supporters of the anti-vaccination movement in the country. Brazil and the speeches of authorities against vaccination, all vaccines offered in the calendar for all age groups were affected.
“This has made our coverage reach levels and rates never seen before. Today we have the possibility that diseases that had already been eliminated in the country may return because the number of people vaccinated against them is small. For example, measles, poliomyelitis “, he said.
Ethel Maciel stressed that these data are worrying, which is why an integrated action by society is needed to encourage medical professionals to speak in favor of vaccines or who may ask about vaccination in consultations. “The idea is that, regardless of the medical specialty, this can be part of the consultation”.
The next step among all the moves being made by the Ministry of Health is to take the Multivaccination Campaign to schools with education programs on the subject. In Brazil, it is already mandatory by law that everyone be vaccinated, but there is difficulty in enforcing this law. The secretary reinforced that in May an action should be initiated so that vaccination is taken to the school environment.
“Schools are not able to carry out an analysis of the child’s vaccination card alone, because there are many vaccines, doses, varying according to age group. So we need to develop a way for this vaccination certificate to be delivered to the school and thus the law be more easily fulfilled”, said the secretary.
For the vice-president of the Brazilian Society of Immunization and representative of the Brazilian Society of Pediatrics (SBP), Renato Kfouri, the big bottleneck in vaccination is in pediatrics, as anti-vaccine advocates have tried to boycott the elderly, adults and teenagers without success, but at the same time reaching children, doctors were able to see in practice what this effect is capable of doing.
“For the first time we saw vaccinated adults and parents not wanting to vaccinate their children. Parents with three, four doses refusing to vaccinate their children because the alarmist discourse of these groups is cruel because it goes directly to ‘are you going to do this to your child?’ ‘Do you think it’s safe?’. It’s hard not to be impacted by a speech of this gravity. This is the most fertile ground where the deconstruction of science and knowledge walks with greater force, generating the worst coverage”, evaluated Kfouri.
The director of the Brazilian Society of Infectious Diseases, Marcos Antônio Cirilo, pointed out that many doctors are suffering threats and attacks for disagreeing with the anti-vaccination movements and still trying to make the population aware of the need to comply with the vaccination schedule. “It’s very complicated, but with this new review we’re going to get good results.”
The Brazilian Medical Association, the Brazilian Association of Allergy and Immunology and the Brazilian Society of Pulmonology also participated in the meeting.