Understand the importance of flu and pneumonia vaccines – 06/21/2022

Brazil has always been considered an example in terms of vaccination, the potential of the health network used for the application and the population’s ban on immunizations.

In 2022, however, it is clear that this positive scenario is in jeopardy. Health ministry data show that vaccination coverage for major diseases such as measles, mumps and hepatitis is declining year by year and is currently reaching alarming levels.

The case is repeated with the flu vaccine, which is given every year and which is generally in good demand, especially in the preferred audience. This year, the national campaign failed to reach 50% coverage among these individuals and was extended.

“We have always been known around the world for our successful campaigns and goals, but unfortunately this is not happening,” lamented Amanda Alecrim de Souza, a representative of SBIM (Brazilian Society of Immunization) at Amazonas. Expressed

Why is it important to get vaccinated against the flu?

Because it is the most effective and safe way to avoid the disease and its complications.. In times of CoVID-19, this is even more important, as it avoids overburdening the public and private health systems.

“We realize on a daily basis that the lower the vaccination rate, the higher the number of people admitted to the hospital for influenza and complications,” said Milton Montero, an infectious disease nurse at HSANP Hospital in Sao Paulo. Are

According to him, at present, the number of cases of hospital admissions due to flu is quite similar to the volume of cases of Covid 19. “We’ve seen patients with both infections,” he says.

In addition to preventing complications, the flu vaccine also reduces the spread of the virus. This is important because it prevents people who are not vaccinated from being at risk – such as newborns and those with a weakened immune system. “You also protect the community by vaccinating yourself,” Montero reinforced.

Pay attention to the exact time of vaccination.

Every year, the flu vaccine needs to be updated. This is because the influenza virus changes every year, altering its structure and making the vaccine less effective.

“It’s important for people to know that the annual vaccine is not a booster,” says Monica Levy, director of the SBIM (Brazilian Society of Immunization). “Every year, the structure changes, it’s a different vaccine,” he says.

In public networks, the flu vaccine is modest and prevents three strains of the virus. This year, the mix includes H1N1, H3N2 Darwin (which caused the outbreak of influenza in Brazil in December 2021) and a subtype of influenza B. In the private network, the vaccine is tetravalent and includes another subtype of influenza B.

It is important to remember that, like any immunizer, the flu vaccine takes about 15 days to guarantee complete protection in our body. Therefore, it is important to get vaccinated at the beginning of the campaign and not in the season of respiratory diseases.

“The only thing we’re seeing today is that people are looking for vaccines only in the event of an outbreak or in the winter, in a state of despair,” says Amanda Alecrim de Souza. “It would be ideal for them to arrive at this safe time,” he says.

This leads to situations like when a person gets vaccinated and gets sick after a day or two – and blame the situation on the vaccine. “It’s a myth,” says the expert. “Usually, what happens is that the person is either already infected with the flu or dies from another respiratory virus that causes the common cold, for which the vaccine is given,” he says. Does not protect. “

Pneumonia also deserves attention.

You probably know someone who had a bad flu and the picture turned to pneumonia. This is a situation that can happen because, as the immune system works to prevent the virus, the body can be attacked by other opportunistic pathogens.

Is a matter of Streptococcus pneumoniae, Commonly called pneumococcus. The bacterium is an old habit of emergency rooms and in addition to pneumonia itself causes diseases such as otitis, tonsillitis and meningitis.

In healthy adults, complications are rare. However, young children and the elderly can present serious complications due to a weakened immune system.

Fortunately, these specific groups have vaccines to reduce the chances of hospitalization and death – including those with a weakened immune system and those with comorbidities or chronic diseases, such as asthma and COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease).

There are three types of pneumonia vaccine:

  • VPC 10 or VPC 13 – The pneumococcal conjugate vaccine contains 10 or 13 pneumococcal serotypes and prevents some of the most serious bacterial diseases in children. Normally recommended for people aged two months to six years; And over 50 years of age.
  • VPP23 – 23Valent pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine protects against 23 types of pneumococci. It is common practice for children, adolescents and adults over the age of two to be exposed to health problems that put them at greater risk for the disease. And seniors over 60 years of age. It is not generally recommended for healthy children, adolescents and adults.

Because the disease usually does not seriously affect young and healthy adults, it is only available on public networks for young children (it is part of the vaccination schedule) and for those with chronic illnesses. And suffering from a disease.

In this case, they should be applied under the guidance of the doctor accompanying the patient and can be found at CRIEs (Reference Centers for Special Immuno Biologicals).

Can you get more than one vaccine at a time?

Usually yes. According to Monica Levy, for example, it is now possible to get the flu and covid 19 vaccines on the same day. “The first break was a precautionary measure; today we know that two vaccines do not cause a reaction and can be used together,” he says.

In the case of children, it is important to consult a pediatrician or a doctor accompanying the family to determine which vaccine may be given on the same day. In general, immunosuppressants made from inactivated viruses do not interact. However, those who use viruses and bacteria (such as yellow fever) should apply at another time.

Lastly, it is always good to remember that, as a child, adult or elderly person, any visit to the health center should check the vaccination card with a professional and get immunizations in case of its disappearance. There is an opportunity to date.

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