Minas expands meningitis vaccination to children under 11

Offered to children under 5, the vaccine agent will also be available at health posts for other age groups

Minas Gerais has expanded the vaccination campaign against meningococcal C (meningitis) for children up to ten years, 11 months and 29 days. The vaccine is normally available for children under 5, but will also be offered to those under 11 who have no doses registered on the card.

The vaccine can be applied free of charge at state health posts. To protect against the disease, it is necessary to complete the vaccination scheme with two doses – one at three and five months, and a booster dose, preferably at 12 months.

Normally, for children who, for whatever reason, have missed the opportunity to receive the vaccine at the ages indicated, it is recommended that a dose be given up to the age of four years, 11 months and 29 days.

Prevention

The temporary extension of the meningococcal C (conjugate) vaccine for children under 11 not yet vaccinated aims to increase protection against the disease, one of the most aggressive types of meningitis that can quickly lead to death or leave sequelae serious. . Last year in Minas there were 17 cases of meningococcal disease and four deaths. In 2022 so far there have been six cases and one death.

Vaccination is the main form of prevention. In 2020, vaccination coverage in the state for meningococcal C (conjugate) was 86.43% in children under 1 year old and 85.67% in children 1 year and older. In 2021, the recorded coverage was 73.7% for children under one year old and 72.26% for those over one year old. The target recommended by the Ministry of Health is 95% vaccination coverage among the population indicated to receive the vaccine.

Disease

Meningitis is an infection that affects the meninges, the membranes that surround the brain and spinal cord. Although all types of meningitis require strict monitoring of the clinical picture, meningococcal type meningitis is more severe.

“They all leave sequelae and lead to death, but meningococcal disease evolves towards death within 24 hours, in addition to sequelae ranging from deafness to amputation of a limb”, reinforces Fernanda Barbosa, technical referent of the Coordination of Communicable Diseases and Disorders of the State Health Department of Minas Gerais (SES-MG).

Fernanda explains that meningococcal disease is an infection caused by a bacterium (meningococcus), which can have several serogroups, A, B, C, W, X and Y being the most important. “The throat of the human being is the natural reservoir of this micro-organism, therefore, its transmission is done by particles eliminated during breathing, speaking, coughing, sneezing, kissing, or even by direct contact with secretions from respiratory symptoms of patients or asymptomatic carriers,” he says.

Add Comment