Brazil recorded, in 2021, one of the lowest BCG vaccine coverage in babies aged 0 to 1 year: 79.5%. In 2022, coverage increased slightly: 82%, but this percentage is still preliminary. To get an idea of how serious the situation is, in 2011, the percentage was 100% immunized.
The data are from Observa Infância, which brings together researchers from the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation (Fiocruz) and the Arthur de Sá Earp Neto University Center (Unifase). The calculation considers the doses applied to children under 1 year of age, the age at which the vaccine should be applied, and the number of live births in that same year.
Immunization protects against tuberculosis, an infectious and transmissible disease, which mainly affects the lungs and, despite being old, remains an important public health problem. In the world, each year, about 10 million people fall ill with tuberculosis. The disease is responsible for more than one million deaths annually. Therefore, the resumption of the high percentage of vaccination is essential.
The recommendation of the Ministry of Health is that the BCG vaccine be administered to newborns, and can be offered to children up to 4 years of age, who have not previously been vaccinated. “Vaccine is not medicine. Vaccination is a collective strategy to protect everyone”, reinforces the secretary of Health and Environment Surveillance, Ethel Maciel.
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The stimulus for immunization returned to the pillar of priority actions of the Ministry of Health management. The goals of the National Plan to End Tuberculosis as a Public Health Problem are: to achieve a 90% reduction in the incidence rate of tuberculosis and a 95% reduction in the number of deaths from the disease in the country by 2035, when compared to 2015 data. .
For Brazil, it means that it is necessary to reduce the incidence coefficient to less than 10 cases per 100,000 inhabitants and reduce the number of deaths from the disease to less than 230 per year, by 2035. In Brazil, approximately 70,000 deaths are reported per year new cases and there are about 4,500 deaths due to tuberculosis.
Since 2016, virtually all vaccination coverage has been below targets. This year, the Ministry of Health raised the status of the National Immunization Program (PNI) to a specific department within the Secretariat for Health and Environment Surveillance (SVSA), which will be responsible for raising protection rates against several other vaccine-preventable diseases, such as polio, tetanus, whooping cough, influenza and measles.
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