Adherence to meningitis vaccines in Ceará is low; scenario arouses the attention of experts

Four vaccines available in the Unified Health System (SUS) protect against meningitis: BCG, Pentavalent, Pneumococcal 10 valent and Meningococcal C. In recent years, however, adherence to these immunization agents has remained below the target stipulated by the National Vaccination Program (PNI).

According to the PNI information system, 2021 has proved to be the year in which fewer children were vaccinated against meningitis in Ceará. To date, all vaccines against the disease have coverage below 50%. The ideal is to reach 90% of the public in the case of BCG and 95% for the others.

“Vaccine coverage has been falling in general, not only in the case of meningitis. This drop has already been observed in the last eight, five years and has become more accentuated in this period of pandemic”, analyzes the infectologist Roberto da Justa. “This is very serious because only high coverage prevents outbreaks and epidemics.”

For him, “it is very important” that the government promote campaigns encouraging and guaranteeing the population’s access to immunization agents. “On the other hand, an effort by society as a whole is needed to raise awareness about vaccines. They are safe, effective and freely available in the SUS.”

Vaccines available in SUS

Most vaccines against the infectious agents that cause meningitis are indicated for children up to 5 years of age and are part of the National Child Vaccination Calendar. See what they are:

BCG vaccine | A single dose, it is usually given at birth. It prevents severe forms of tuberculosis such as tuberculous meningitis.

10-valent Pneumococcal Vaccine | Have one dose at 2 months of age and another at 4 months. A booster dose is given when the child is one year old. Prevents invasive infections such as meningitis caused by the 10 serotypes of the bacteria Streptococcus pneumonia.

Pentavalent Vaccine | It has three doses, applied at 2 months, 4 months and 6 months of age. It prevents, among other bacterial diseases, meningitis caused by Haemophilus influenzae type B.

Meningococcal C vaccine | Have one dose at 3 months of age and another at 5 months. A booster dose is given when the child is one year old. Prevents systemic disease caused by bacteria Neisseria meningitidis (meningococcus) from serogroup C.

In addition to them, the Unified Health System (SUS) has the Meningococcal ACWY vaccine. The immunizing agent is a single dose and is indicated for adolescents aged 11 and 12 years old. Prevents meningitis and generalized infections caused by meningococcal bacteria types A, C, W and Y.

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