The Municipal Health Department offers the meningitis vaccine for children up to 10 years, 11 months and 29 days of age who have not yet received any doses. All basic health units provide vaccinations.
The meningococcal C (conjugate) vaccine is included in the national immunization calendar for children under 5 years of age, given at 3 and 5 months of age and in a booster dose, preferably at 12 months of age.
For children who for some reason have lost the opportunity to receive the vaccine at the indicated ages, the recommendation is to give a dose up to 4 years of age. Now, with a new recommendation from the Ministry of Health, this age group has been extended to 10 years,” explained the immunization program coordinator, Adriana Izuka.
The measure takes into account the current scenario of reduced vaccination coverage, observed as of 2016, and exacerbated in 2020 with the spread of the COVID-19 epidemic, possibly due to the population’s fear of seeking health services to update the vaccination calendar.
Although the age group most at risk of contracting the disease is that of children under one year of age, adolescents and young adults are mainly responsible for maintaining the blood circulation of the disease in the community, due to the high rates of meningococcal infection in the nasopharynx.
“The purpose of adopting this measure is to increase protection against meningococcal disease, prevent outbreaks by serogroup C, hospitalization, sequelae, and mortality. Therefore, the only way to control the disease is to maintain high vaccination coverage, in both children and adolescents” , recalls the Minister of Health, Rosa Maria Jeronimo. Doses will be provisionally provided until December 2021.
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