About two months after starting children’s Covid-19 vaccination, not even half of the group between 5 and 11 years old received the first dose. The rate is almost 43%, according to data from the Ministry of Health. In relation to the second dose, it drops to just over 6%.
experts heard by CNN assess that childhood immunization progresses slowly and that the main challenges for progress are fake news, the perception that the disease does not cause serious cases in children and the need for an active search.
Raphael Guimarães, a researcher at the Fiocruz National School of Public Health and a member of the foundation’s Covid-19 Observatory, defends the urgency of leveraging the childhood immunization campaign, especially given the return to face-to-face classes and the easing of the use of face masks.
“Without a vaccine, this population itself is unprotected and we still have the circulation of the virus. As adults are already vaccinated, children become easy targets for the virus,” she warned.
This Thursday (17), Fiocruz released the new Infogripe bulletin. According to the document, the incidence of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome in children grew throughout February, during the back to school period.
Preliminary laboratory tests reveal that, in addition to cases associated with Respiratory Syncytial Virus, which affects breathing through an infection, the reason for the increase is also to stop the fall in coronavirus cases.
In addition, a technical note released by Fiocruz’s Covid-19 Observatory argues that the main challenge in the vaccination campaign is the public between 5 and 11 years old, which represents 9.5% of the Brazilian population.
“False news spreaders have raised the tone of speculation, causing many parents to be insecure about the risks of vaccinating their children,” the document warns.
Raphael Guimarães points out that convincing parents is essential. “The first thing I say to parents is: all your children who have gone through the basic vaccination schedule have taken at least 22 doses and no one has ever questioned the effectiveness or safety. Because there was a previous work, it is only released when there are studies by Anvisa, all the technical work done against measles, poliomyelitis and whooping cough, for example, was done against Covid-19 ”, he explains.
The researcher also highlights that children’s ICU beds are a ‘bottleneck’ in the public and private health systems. Thus, any increase in severe cases of a disease in children becomes a problem for the care network.
The vice president of the Brazilian Society of Immunizations, Isabella Ballalai, also reinforces that the vaccine is safe and effective, as well as being especially necessary to avoid serious cases of infection by the coronavirus.
“With Covid, the child has less chance of hospitalization and death than an elderly person. We repeated this for a long time and nobody changed their minds. When we didn’t have a vaccine for everyone, we started with the priority groups and the child was last, but that doesn’t mean it’s not serious for them. There were 34,000 hospitalizations until last year alone, a number that rose during this wave of Ômicron”, he highlighted.
Isabella Ballalai also advocated more transparency in the dissemination of childhood vaccination data for public policy planning. The Ministry of Health Vaccinometer, for example, does not show the percentage of immunized children, only the doses applied. THE CNN questioned the folder about the fact and awaits a return.
Faced with the challenges, experts argue the need for awareness campaigns, vaccination in schools and home visits by community health workers, in order to inform parents about the importance of the immunizer against the coronavirus.
Source: CNN Brasil