The National Vaccination Campaign Against Measles and Poliomyelitis, recently conducted, met the goal of immunizing 95 percent of its target group, as previously set by the Brazilian government. The general average for vaccination against measles stood at 95.3 percent, whereas its counterpart for polio reached 95.4 percent. In all, 21.4 million doses were administered, benefiting 10.7 million children. The figures were made public today (Sep. 17) by Brazil's Health Ministry.
The campaign ended Friday (14) after having its conclusion postponed. Some states and cities, however, are still vaccinating.
The official figures show different coverage rates in different Brazilian states. Fifteen states have achieved the target for both vaccines. Sao Paulo and Tocantins reached the 95 percent minimum rate only for polio.
Rio de Janeiro was the state with the poorest campaign performance-coverage stood at 83.3 percent for polio, and 83.3 percent for measles, which can be improved as state authorities have decided to put off the end of vaccination efforts until Saturday (22). The Federal District follows, with 88 and 87.5, respectively.
According to the data from the Health Ministry, 1,180 municipalities failed to meet the target, and some 516 thousand children are still to be vaccinated against the two illnesses. The only age group that did not reach the expected rate of what of one-year-olds, whose coverage stands at 88 percent.
This year, Brazilian health authorities recommend every children aged one and above and younger than five to be vaccinated, even if they had been previously immunized, in which case the dose would come as a backup.
The National Vaccination Campaign Against Measles and Poliomyelitis met the goal of immunizing 95 percent of its target group. - Marcelo Camargo/Agncia Brasil Imported measles
The measure was adopted following a series of measles outbreaks in Brazil, reported in the states of Amazonas and Roraima, linked to the coming of a strain of the virus causing the disease. According to federal authorities, the genotype of the virus circulating in the Brazilian territory today (D8), is the same as the one detected in Venezuela, which is currently facing the spread of the disease at an alarming rate since last year.
Health Minister Gilberto Occhi noted that the work of the population and health care providers was key to achieving the goals. "The success of the campaign was the fruit of the work of everyone who understood the importance of keeping vaccine coverage high in order to prevent that previously eliminated diseases come back to the country, like measles. The vaccine is the most efficient way of protecting our children from such diseases," he stated.
Data from the Ministry of Health reveal that 1,673 cases of measles had been confirmed in Brazil by September 10. Altogether, 1,326 were confirmed in Amazonas, the state where another 7,738 are being investigated. In Roraima, 301 cases of the illness were confirmed, and 74 are being scrutinized.
Some isolated cases were identified in the states of Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Rio Grande do Sul, Rondnia, Pernambuco, and Para. Thus far, eight people died from measles in the country-four in Roraima, and four in Amazonas.