Only 4 strains vaccine will be available in the network for values between R$80 and R$162. And the triple dose is free in SUS
According to the Ministry of Health, the national influenza vaccination campaign is expected to start in the first half of April across the country. Brazilians will be vaccinated for free with an updated version of the trivalent vaccine, which protects against two strains of influenza virus A and one of B.
However, in the private network, the option of quadruple immunity is offered, which contains another strain of influenza B, which provides additional protection. The average price of injections ranges from R$80 to R$130.
From April, private clinics will also get Efluelda, a vaccine made by the pharmaceutical company Sanofi and aimed at residents 60 and over. The formulation contains four times more antigen than standard doses of the quadrivalent vaccines and is 24% more effective for older adults than the standard vaccine. The anti-flu option will hit the market at around R$162.
But if there are free immunization kits in the SUS, is it worth it to pay for a flu shot in the private network? Melissa Palmieri, director of the Brazilian Society of Immunization (SBIM) in the Sao Paulo Regional District, thinks so. “Whoever can take it will have an amplification of protection,” he says.
According to SBIM, two aspects make additional protection particularly important: the combined circulation of two influenza B strains in the same season, observed worldwide since 2000, and the history of the influenza B strain present in the trivalent vaccine not being prevalent in 50% of influenza seasons. .
The infection specialist is of the opinion that anyone who is unable to cash in should be vaccinated in the Unified Health System (SUS), since the trivalent option, made by the Butantan Institute, also provides protection against disease.
“Through vaccination, people with comorbidities or who are immunosuppressed protect themselves from developing acute disease, and prevent secondary complications related to infection and exacerbation of chronic conditions,” says Melissa.
The difference between vaccinations
All influenza vaccines used in Brazil are made from inactivated (killed) viruses, which are unable to cause disease.
The triple option, offered by SUS, contains strain A/H1N1, A/H3N2 and B strain Victoria. The standard quadrivalent – available privately – contains all the viruses in the trivalent plus the B strain of the Yamagata strain. Both are intended for the general population from 6 months of age.
“The composition of the influenza vaccine is reviewed every year, in accordance with the guidelines of the World Health Organization (WHO), according to the virus strains most prevalent in the Northern and Southern Hemispheres,” the Ministry of Health informs.
On the other hand, Efluelda increases the immune system response of the elderly to the vaccine, especially against influenza A (H3N2) virus, which is more common and severe in this part of the population. Contains a prescription in the package leaflet only for the public 60 years of age or older.
“This group traditionally responds less to vaccines, compared to others. The new technology puts up to four times more antigen compared to the standard dose, and the elderly person produces a better response with greater efficacy,” explains Melissa.
Will SUS offer the quadruple vaccine?
Not at the moment. But the prevailing trend is that in the coming years only quadrivalent vaccines will be produced. “As in the past, monovalent vaccines have been replaced by bivalent vaccines, and bivalent vaccines by trivalent ones, according to Epidemiologists,” says SBIM, in a technical note.
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