The State Department of Health of Rio de Janeiro (SES-RJ) took advantage of Adolescent Day, celebrated today (21), to publicize the importance of the multi-vaccination campaign, which ends on the 30th, including vaccination against HPV.
The vaccine against HPV (Human Papillomavirus) was added to the immunization schedule in 2014. The vaccine is the best way to prevent diseases caused by the papillomavirus, such as genital warts, precancerous lesions and cervical cancers. and genitals.
The health nurse Gabrielli Damasceno, coordinator of Epidemiological Surveillance at SES, guides those responsible to take their children and adolescents up to 15 years of age to regularize the vaccination card against diseases such as measles, mumps and rubella, diphtheria and tetanus. , hepatitis B, yellow fever, meningitis, chickenpox and, mainly, HPV, which has a very specific age group.
“When children or adolescents are immunized in this age group – girls aged 9 to 14 years and boys aged 11 to 14 years – they reduce the risk of cervical cancer by up to 70%, as well as warts in the genital tract, both female and male”, said Gabrielli.
Vaccination is very low in the state of Rio de Janeiro, not only for HPV but for all other vaccines, admitted the coordinator. “Because there’s no point in taking a single dose. There are vaccines that have to be taken three doses to have the complete schedule, and others, two doses, as with HPV”.
The HPV vaccine is offered by the Unified Health System (SUS) and is available at health posts. It protects against four types of the virus: HPV-16 and HPV-18, both of which are high risk; and low-risk HPV-6 and HPV-11. According to the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), HPV-16 and HPV-18 are responsible for causing at least 70% of cervical cancer cases.
In the state of Rio de Janeiro, the HPV vaccination rate in the first half of 2022 for girls between 9 and 14 years of age was 54.76% for the first dose and 33.27% for the complete vaccination schedule. In the case of boys, the percentages were 22.45% and 14.02%, respectively. “For us to understand that these children are vaccinated, only taking full doses of that vaccine,” he said.
Gabrielli Damasceno reported that, in the same way as with immunization against HPV, vaccination against other diseases is below what is necessary. For measles, for example, the first dose is around 40% and the second is around 20% of the target audience. “Polio follows this same pattern. It is not for lack of immunobiologicals, because the Ministry of Health has sent them and the State Health Department has passed them on to all municipalities”.
HPV is one of the most common sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and is usually transmitted through sexual intercourse or sexual contact with a person who has the virus. The disease can be transmitted even when condoms are used.
The virus survives for a long time on the surfaces of objects and, therefore, can also be transmitted through objects or materials used by infected people.
Since the beginning of August, SES has been carrying out across the state, in partnership with the municipal health departments, the National Vaccination Campaign against Poliomyelitis and Multivaccination. The action provides for the updating of the vaccination booklet of children and adolescents up to 15 years old, with the offer of doses against measles, rubella and mumps (triple viral), diphtheria and tetanus (DT), hepatitis B, yellow fever, meningitis (Meningococcal ACWY conjugate ), chickenpox and HPV.
According to the SES-RJ Epidemiological Surveillance Coordinator, the vaccination rate is low due to the fake news. One of these fake news spread on social media is that children who were vaccinated against measles, mumps and rubella became autistic. “It has nothing to do with it. This anti-vaccine movement has greatly harmed vaccine coverage”, he warns.
She recognises, however, that the covid-19 pandemic drove citizens away from health posts in 2020 and 2021. In the case of measles, she recalled that Brazil is in the process of re-verifying the elimination certificate, which was lost in 2019. “With each passing day, other vaccine-preventable diseases are being re-elected, because people are not getting vaccinated. If we have a vaccine, why not get vaccinated?”, she asked.
Gabrielli also highlighted that Brazil is a world reference country in terms of the quality of its vaccines, which are stored, preserved and exported within all safety levels, so as not to lose the validity and effectiveness of immunobiologicals.
“So, there’s no reason not to vaccinate.”
Translated to english by RJ983
From Brazil, by EBC News