The national flu vaccination campaign indices remain frustrating. With two weeks to the end of the move, on May 31, the number of people immunized is still far from the target. According to the balance sheet of the Ministry of Health released yesterday, 33 million have been vaccinated so far, representing 56% of the target audience. The states with the most attention are Amazonas (88.8%), Amapá (83.8%) and Espírito Santo (69.4%). The worst percentages are in Rio (38.3%) and Acre (45%).
Numbers are worried about what happened last year and it seems to be repeating this year. In 2018, according to the Ministry of Health, 917 people died as a result of the H1N1 influenza virus, which dominates the country and is responsible for most deaths in hospital. By 2019, by the beginning of May, there had been 99 deaths.
The low demand for vaccines, not just against flu, is a phenomenon that has been repeated in Brazil. The US and European countries, for example, have also seen a large increase in the incidence of measles due to low vaccine uptake.
Experts say that anti-virus movements, occurring in different parts of the world, and false news are spread by social networks informing, without any scientific basis, which vaccines cause disease.
But there are ways to deal with the problem, as experiences show inside and outside the country. In Brazil, there are municipalities going door-to-door to vaccinate residents. In Germany, Health Minister Jens Spahn has announced that parents who do not vaccinate their children against measles will be fined. In New York, where there is a case of measles, the city also threatens to fine those who do not protect themselves.
The fact is that, without adequate attention (the target is 90%), deaths from preventable diseases increase. In addition, emergencies are overloaded, representing unnecessary costs. Governments therefore need to change vaccination strategies. Obviously, those adopted so far are not working.