Despite the expertise of the National Immunization Program, State fails to meet constitutional right to health, says paper

The massive vaccination in Brazil was already a reality even before the Constitution of 1988, which established health as a right of all and a duty of the State. In 1973, the National Immunization Program (PNI) was created, which became an example for the world. In recent years, however, vaccination rates, especially among children, have dropped dramatically, and during the Covid-19 pandemic, this has deepened due to the action of the president of the republic himself. This is discussed in the paper published in The Lancet Regional Americas, authored by Michelle Fernandez (UnB), Gustavo Matta (Ensp/Fiocruz) and Ester Paiva (NIESP/Fiocruz).

The paper argues that although the anti-vaccine movement is already at work in other countries of the world, in Brazil, it was inflamed for political reasons, with support from the federal government. In addition to the dissemination of misinformation, the vaccination guidelines issued by the Ministry of Health for childhood vaccination against Covid-19 were an obstacle to vaccination coverage.

At the beginning of the campaign, documents and authorizations were required, besides recommending the observation of the child for at least 20 minutes after the injection for follow-up of possible adverse effects, always presented with the bias of morality and child protection, but causing increased distrust in the immunizer.

For the authors, the PNI has been compromised for ideological reasons: "Covid-19 vaccination has been used as a political tool and impacted the confidence of an entire Brazilian public health project", said Ester Paiva. To reverse this scenario, the article indicates possible paths that pass through actions of health communication that can encourage and sensitize families to vaccination. It also points the use of strategies within the health system that can capture these children and that the coordination of national actions is mandatory for the deployment of these strategies.

Access the full article here.