Measles and flu vaccination starts this Monday, April 4

The National Measles Vaccination Campaign this year will target children aged six months to under 5 years and health workers. The mobilization begins this Monday (4), in conjunction with the Vaccination Campaign against Influenza, a virus that causes flu.

Measles is a serious and highly contagious disease caused by a virus and is potentially deadly for children. Before the introduction of the vaccine in the mid-1960s, epidemics of the disease killed an estimated 2.6 million a year. And even with the vaccine, measles remains a leading cause of death among children worldwide. According to the Pan American Health Organization, in 2017 approximately 110,000 people died from the virus, most of them children under the age of five.

Infectologist Hemerson Luz explains that the issue of measles in Brazil is complicated because the virus was almost eradicated with good vaccination campaigns, but in recent years the country has returned to record cases. This can become a problem if coverage does not reach the majority of the population.

“Measles is a very special situation because it was almost eradicated in Brazil and he had a case again. We have measles cases again because vaccine coverage has decreased. Measles is highly transmissible and if coverage is below 90% it can spread. One of the latest vaccine coverage, depending on the location, has cities in the interior that did not reach 50%”, warns the infectious disease specialist.

Brazilian children aged six months to less than 5 years old total an audience of 12.9 million and the goal of the Ministry of Health is to vaccinate at least 95% of this population, that is, about 12.3 million. The aim is to update the doses that are still late, in addition to protecting this public against the disease, considering the risk in the face of greater exposure in health services. In this strategy, the MMR and influenza vaccines will be offered for administration at the same visit to the health service. The Pasta points out that simultaneous vaccination is an activity recommended by the National Immunization Program (PNI) to reduce missed opportunities for vaccination.

Hermerson Luz explains that parents should not fear the vaccine or listen to false news about immunizers that have circulated lately, especially because of the pandemic. The infectologist points out that the vaccine is safe and in the last decade has prevented millions of deaths. “People are afraid of the vaccine, due to a lot of news that ended up being published relating the vaccine to other health problems that are not true. Vaccine does not relate to autism and some people are taking this for granted. It even reduced the polio vaccination coverage. Brazil has now entered the list of countries at risk of having cases of poliomyelitis because vaccination coverage has also dropped. It is of paramount importance that responsible parents take their children to be vaccinated because measles is a potentially serious disease”, points out the infectious disease specialist.

Karoline Pereira da Silva, a 39-year-old teacher, became a mother for the first time seven months ago and knows the importance of vaccines for a child’s health. She understands that by vaccinating Eduarda against measles, she will not only be protecting her daughter, but also other children.

“I will be protecting my daughter against the virus, and as it is a virus that is passed from person to person, I will be preventing this virus from becoming a pandemic. Because it dissipates this disease. I’m preventing my daughter from getting sick with this virus and preventing the population from getting it too”, emphasizes Karoline.

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Calendar

In addition to children, health workers will be summoned to update the vaccination status. Check the calendar of the 8th National Campaign for Follow-up and Vaccination of Health Workers against Measles

  • From 4 April to 2 May: vaccination of health workers – along with the first stage of influenza vaccination;
  • From 3 May to 3 June 2022: Measles follow-up campaign for children aged 6 months to under 5 years (4 years, 11 months and 29 days) – along with the second stage of influenza vaccination.

Measles

Measles is a serious and highly contagious viral disease that can develop into complications and lead to death. The first symptoms are fever, cough, runny nose, like a common cold. The patient may have loss of appetite and present with conjunctivitis, with red, watery eyes and photophobia.
The most characteristic symptom is red spots on the skin. These rashes start on the face, in the area behind the ear, and spread over the body. The patient may also experience a sore throat.
Measles’ biggest concern is for young children and immunocompromised patients, as the virus can cause serious health problems:

  • intense diarrhea
  • ear infection
  • loss of vision
  • pneumonia
  • encephalitis (inflammation of the brain)

Most deaths are due to complications in the respiratory tract or encephalitis.

A person who has measles can start transmitting the disease about five days before the spots appear on the skin. In addition, she continues to transmit the virus four days after the rashes have disappeared. Vaccination is the only form of prevention.

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