Covid-19 cases are increasing across the state, but the rise has not yet reflected in the numbers of hospitalizations and deaths.according to the Secretary of Health of Minas Gerais, Fábio Baccheretti.
In a press conference held this Thursday (26), he also spoke about other public health concerns such as monkeypox, hepatitis of unknown cause and low vaccination coverage for diseases such as influenza, measles and polio..
Baccheretti further said that the expectation is that the vaccine against Covid-19 will become annual.
Minas Gerais State Secretary of Health, Fábio Baccheretti, at a press conference — Photo: TV Globo
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Increase in Covid-19 cases
According to Baccheretti, the increase in cases of Covid-19 in this autumn period was already expectedand the tendency is for the disease to have a seasonal character.
He said “the pandemic is under control” in the state.
“Covid now has a seasonal behavior, and this will always happen between March and July. There is no reason to imagine a resumption of the pandemic, a great fourth wave, it’s just the seasonality of respiratory diseases”, said the secretary.
According to him, the state supports municipalities that are resuming the mask requirement in schools, such as Nova Lima and Betim, in Grande BH, but, for now, there is no such recommendation by the government.
According to Baccheretti, It is a consensus among state health secretaries that the fourth dose of the Covid vaccine should be expanded to all adults – currently, the second booster dose of the immunizer is only available for the elderly and immunosuppressed. In Minas Gerais, vaccination coverage for this public is below 22%.
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Secretaries also want the third dose of the vaccine is made available to adolescents, aged between 12 and 17 yearswho so far could only take two doses.
“There is a medium-term risk of vaccines that are in the federal government losing their validity, and we have been trying to convince [o Ministério da Saúde] the importance of expanding the fourth dose”, stated Baccheretti.
According to him, there is also an expectation that the Covid vaccine will become annual, like the flu vaccine, but there is still no definition on that..
Regarding monkeypox, Baccheretti said that there is no expectation that the disease will cause an epidemic in Minas Gerais and Brazil.
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“It’s a virus that will arrive here punctually, it’s not a matter of the population thinking that there will be a new epidemic, that shouldn’t happen (…) Our recommendation is to recognize suspected cases, and we can follow the cases and their contacts “, said Baccheretti.
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Minas Gerais investigates eight suspected cases of hepatitis of unknown cause. There are no confirmed cases.
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“It is a follow-up, but it is not a disease that will lead to an epidemic. It is a disease that is much more reactive to other viruses than anything else,” said the secretary.
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Influenza vaccination is “far” from target among all campaign audiences: elderly, children aged 6 months to 5 years and health workers, according to Baccheretti.
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The campaign is scheduled to end on the day June 3rd. After that, the immunizer should be made available to all groups.
“The flu circulates today more than Covid and can also cause serious cases”, said the secretary.
Influenza vaccine — Photo: Publicity/Limeira City Hall
According to him, measles and polio vaccine coverage is also low in the state.
In the Unified Health System (SUS), the vaccine that protects against measles is the MMR vaccine, which is available for people aged 12 months to 59 years. Two doses are recommended for people aged up to 29 years and one dose for unvaccinated people aged 30 to 50 years.
Polio vaccines should be given in the child’s first year.at 2, 4 and 6 months of age, with an interval of 60 days between doses.
“We took a big step backwards in relation to the vaccination schedule for children”, said Baccheretti.