State expands meningitis vaccination to new audiences

Minas Gerais Health Secretary Fábio Baccheretti has warned that vaccination coverage in the country is below what is desirable (Photo: Fábio Marchetto/SES-MG)

The state of Minas Gerais will expand the meningitis vaccination campaign to new audiences. Young people between the ages of 16 and 30, health personnel, education personnel (in higher and technical education) and university students will be able to receive the vaccine. During a press conference, the Secretary of State for Health of Minas Gerais, Fábio Baccheretti, said that the doses would begin to be distributed from November 3.

During the press conference, Baccheretti pointed out that the country’s vaccination coverage, compared to all vaccinators, is less than desirable. He drew attention to the data related to meningitis C, one of the meningitis which already has a vaccine available to the population for 12 years. “We have noticed, since 2017, that we have not reached the objective of 95% coverage of this vaccine. Today, we cover 76% of the target audience,” he explains.

Currently, the meningitis vaccine is given in two doses, at 3 and 5 months of age, with a 60-day interval between doses. Then there is a reminder when the child is 1 year old. Teenagers aged 11 and 14 receive a booster and a dose. The expansion of the vaccine is therefore aimed at a new audience, which did not receive it when the vaccination campaign began more than a decade ago. “This group is considered the most vulnerable in terms of catching the disease and passing it on. Therefore, with the vaccine, we can contain the disease,” he says.

Despite the concern to increase the target audience, the secretary also pointed out that there is no major change in the number of deaths compared to other years or even an outbreak of the disease. The data presented was 92 deaths in 2022 and 50 deaths in 2021, which the secretary considers also related to the current timing of the Covid-19 pandemic and the easing of health security measures. The objective of the expansion is therefore to “protect the population even more”.

Content continues after announcement

In addition to meningitis, poliomyelitis, Covid-19 and monkeypox

On polio vaccination, the secretary said the goal is still to reach 95% of the public. Currently, in the state of Minas Gerais, the average is 81.64% of the public vaccinated. “We manage to improve vaccination with many actions, but the situation is very heterogeneous in the municipalities,” he said. Baccheretti illustrated, in this sense, that there are parts of the state that have already reached the goal and others that are still below.

The Secretary also reported, of Covid-19, that deaths in the state were equal at the start of 2020, the start of the pandemic in Brazil – showing a breakthrough in transmission control. Baccheretti explained that, at this time, there is no state campaign forecast for the fourth dose for people under 30, as “clear benefits for this audience have not yet been proven. in research”.

However, he specifies that it is planned that in 2023 vaccination against Covid-19 will be part of the national vaccination calendar. In addition, he explains that the epidemiological data relating to the disease tends to worsen during seasons of lower temperatures, as has happened in Europe.

Regarding monkeypox (monkey pox), the secretary said early diagnosis and isolation of suspected cases has been key in controlling the transmission of this disease in the state. He also pointed out that, for now, the vaccine is being tested in specific groups in certain states of the country.

Leave a Comment