With a brief walk through the history of vaccines, Doctor Amanda Alecrim was one of the speakers at the I Municipal Vaccination Forum, promoted by the City Hall of Manaus, this Tuesday, 16/3, through the Municipal Service of health (Semsa), at Novotel Manaus, in the industrial district, southern zone.
“Vaccines are the most practical and economical way to prevent disease,” said the regional representative of the Brazilian Vaccination Society, who highlighted the role of immunoprevention in improving the quality of life of population. It goes back to the year 1796, the date of the creation of the first vaccine, which protected against smallpox, to demonstrate that progress in science and the supply of vaccines were decisive in reducing disease and death.
“This first vaccine, created more than 200 years ago, eliminated smallpox and data from that time indicate a reduction of 300 million deaths from smallpox, worldwide, after the emergence vaccine,” he explained.
Visiting the Brazilian scenario of the 19th century, the doctor highlighted the fact that vaccinations were available in the country, free of charge, both for adults and children, and it was even established by law that vaccination was compulsory. But what we found, in practice, was that people were afraid to get vaccinated and preferred to take the risk of getting sick.
Amanda pointed out that 1904 went down in immunization history. That year, health physician Oswaldo Cruz implemented actions that forced people to get vaccinated, sparking the movement known as the “Vaccine Revolt”, when people took to the streets to protest for the right not to take the vaccine.
“The vaccine was accepted by the population only in 1908, when there was a great smallpox epidemic in Rio de Janeiro. This event changed the scenario and the behavior of the Brazilian people, after which the population started to fear the disease and started to believe in the efficacy of the vaccine,” he observed.
Amanda Alecrim underlined the importance of the National Immunization Program (NIP), created in 1973, responsible for promoting a change in the epidemiological profile of vaccine-preventable diseases. The doctor pointed out that the first Brazilian vaccination schedule, launched in 1977, provided for the application of four vaccines to all children in the first year of life. Currently, the PNI offers 19 vaccines, free and available in the basic health network, for all age groups.
According to Amanda, after the creation of the PNI, there was a significant change in the scenario in Brazil regarding the incidence of vaccine-preventable diseases. “Thanks to the good vaccination coverage, recorded in the first 30 years of operation of the PNI, Brazil has made progress in the elimination of many diseases. Thanks to this work, the country received in 1994 the certificate of eradication poliomyelitis and eliminated diseases such as rubella and neonatal tetanus,” he said.
There has also been a reduction in cases of accidental tetanus, diphtheria and acute diarrheal disease caused by rotavirus. “After the introduction of the rotavirus vaccine, there was a reduction of 40,000 childhood hospitalizations across the country,” he said.
In a more recent analysis, Amanda Alecrim pointed out that from 2015, the country began to present a worrying situation in terms of vaccination, with a drop in vaccination coverage, and an increased risk of reappearance of diseases such as measles and poliomyelitis. “Today the scenario is very worrying, because if we have few people vaccinated, the probability of disease returning is enormous and this has already happened in 2018, with the measles epidemics, recorded in Manaus and São Paulo. “, he pointed out.
The doctor also highlighted the registration of two cases of poliomyelitis at the beginning of this year, one in Africa and the other in Israel. “These cases trigger an alert because they occur in places where the disease has been eliminated. And since we have a scenario of low vaccination coverage, we must start acting so that the disease does not come back among us,” he observed.
The right of children to receive vaccinations and to be protected against vaccine-preventable diseases is guaranteed by the Children and Young Persons Act (ECA). The document also defines that fathers, mothers and guardians have a duty to bring their children to be vaccinated, to ensure their individual protection and to contribute to the maintenance of everyone’s health.
“We need everyone, fathers, mothers, teachers, uncles, family members, to be aware of the seriousness of the problem and do their part to increase vaccination coverage, in our cities, states and across the country and ensure that our children continue to grow up disease-free,” he reflected.
The doctor pointed out that all the vaccines of the childhood vaccination schedule are available in more than 170 vaccination rooms distributed in Manaus. “The government has done its part by making vaccines available. The other entities involved must also do their part,” he concluded.