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Ministry of Health reduced shipment of BCG vaccines to states

One of the first vaccines to be given to newborns in Brazil, BCG had its supply reduced to Brazilian states.

At least 14 states stated, in a note, that they received a letter from the Ministry of Health informing the reduction in the amount of vaccine doses. The secretariats point out that they received less immunizations, but there is still no shortage of vaccines.

THE CNN had access to the letter sent by the Ministry to the State Health Departments at the end of April.

In the document, the ministry justifies the reduction in remittances due to the “limited availability” and “difficulties in acquiring” the immunizer. The letter also pointed out that the instability in the quantity of lots delivered can last for seven months.

Before the reduction, the average quantity made available per month for each state was about 1 million doses. According to the letter sent by the Ministry of Health, the readjustment of the batches started to provide about 500 thousand vaccines monthly.

In a note, the ministry informed that the reduction was made due to the processing of the acquisition process, which involves purchase, customs clearance and authorization by Anvisa for the entry of the product into the country, which is later sent for analysis of the quality control of the INCQS before being distributed to vaccine rooms across the country.

The BCG vaccine prevents tuberculosis. In Brazil, the recommendation is for it to be applied in the first days of life, but it can be administered until the child is four years old.

Although it is not yet a situation of lack of immunizations, the state health departments already register the reduction of immunizations. In Espírito Santo, for example, the most recent batch arrived with 60% of the usual quantity.

The state of Maranhão also reported that the shipment in May was lower than the previous ones.

As a way of avoiding shortages, the secretariats have planned the logistics so as not to waste doses. The BCG vaccine vial is multidose and, after opening, it is necessary to use the entire content within six hours.

One of the widely adopted strategies is the scheduling of vaccine application and the centralization of application sites, making BCG available only in places such as, for example, maternity hospitals.

According to DataSUS, so far, Brazil has reached 41.3% of BCG vaccination coverage in 2022. The PNI aims to vaccinate at least 90% of the target audience with BCG. In 2021 and 2020, coverage was 68.6% and 74.7%, respectively.

Data published in the most recent edition of the Ministry of Health’s Epidemiological Bulletin show that about 68,000 people became ill with tuberculosis in 2021.

The tuberculosis incidence rate in Brazil is 32 cases per 100,000 inhabitants. Brazil is part of the list of priority countries for fighting the disease by the World Health Organization (WHO).

Source: CNN Brasil

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