In Argentina, there are more than 700 thousand girls and boys susceptible to measles, rubella and mumps – Unidiversidad

In this regard, the Minister of Health, Carla Vizzotti, recalled that on October 1st, a follow-up campaign to administer an additional dose of the vaccine against these three viruses and another against poliomyelitis begins.

A follow-up campaign to administer an additional dose against these three viruses and against polio begins on October 1. Photo: Telam

At least 713 thousand girls and boys between 1 and 4 years old in Argentina are susceptible to measles, rubella and mumps either because they were not vaccinated or because they had an inadequate immune response, the reported today Minister of Health Carla Vizzottiwho remembered that a follow-up campaign to administer an additional dose of the vaccine against these three viruses and another against polio begins on October 1.

“Over time between children who were not vaccinated and those who did not have an adequate immune response, they accumulate susceptibility, and when you reach a number like what we have today, which reaches or exceeds the number of children born alive per year is considered a high risk of an epidemic,” Vizzotti explained.

He continued: “This usually happens every four years and that’s why we’re running these extra dose campaigns to quickly reduce the risk of susceptibles.”

According to the Ministry’s calculations from the last Monitoring Campaign (2018) against measles, rubella and mumps 713 thousand girls and boys from 1 to 4 years old are receptive.

If we consider that the live birth cohort in 2020, the year the coronavirus pandemic began, was 530,000 babies, currently those who are susceptible represent almost a cohort and a half, or in other words this would be equivalent to all babies born after a year and a half can get these viruses.

National follow-up campaign against measles, rubella, mumps and poliomyelitis

The national follow-up campaign against measles, rubella, mumps and poliomyelitis will start on October 1, last for six weeks (until November 13) and aims to reach the entire population (more than 2.3 million girls and boys) from 13 months to 4 years inclusive (4 years, 11 months and 29 days)regardless of previously taken doses.

The specific goal of the campaign is to achieve coverage above 95% for the triple virus vaccine dose (measles, rubella and mumps) and we also included an additional dose of inactivated polio vaccine,” explained Juan Manuel Castelli, Undersecretary for Health Strategy of the Ministry of Health.

And he explained that “what is aimed at is that this coverage be homogeneous, that is, in all jurisdictions and in all departments, municipalities, localities, etc.; this means that if we have 130 municipalities in a province, we don’t want to have one with 99 percent coverage and one with 70 percent coverage and they are averaged.

It should be remembered that the National Vaccination Calendar provides for protection against measles, rubella and mumps through a triple virus vaccination for girls and boys aged 12 months and 5 years; while three doses at 2, 4 and 6 months and a booster at 5 years are established for protection against poliomyelitis.

In the context of this subsequent campaign, “girls and boys between the ages of 13 months and 4 years must administer these additional doses (one of the triple viral and another against poliomyelitis) and in fact in the health book they will be registered as “additional”, which means that in five years the scheme should be completed”.

The campaign is free, mandatory and does not require a medical order to apply

“If a person has just vaccinated his one-year-old baby with the triple virus vaccine, waits a month and puts this additional one, that is, the campaign covers everyone who is among the target group,” insisted Castelli.

And he added that “the vaccine can be co-administered with other Calendar contacts and also with those of Covid”.

Eliminating diseases

The basis of this campaign is to help eliminate measles, rubella, congenital rubella syndrome, and control polio and mumps.

“It is important to note that Argentina has always maintained measles elimination status despite the very important outbreak we had from the beginning of 2019 to the first quarter of 2020,” Castelli explained.

And he continued: “So even though we have been free of circulating wild poliovirus since 1984 and there have been no endemic cases of measles since 2000, nor of rubella or congenital rubella syndrome since 2009, there are some situations , which must be taken into account.’

First of all, Castelli recalled that “there is a risk of constant reintroduction of these viruses as they continue to circulate in the rest of the world. There are outbreaks of measles in Brazil, the United States, Asian countries, and Europe; in fact, in the Region of the Americas, Brazil and Venezuela lost their measles-free status.”

Another important problem is the reduction of vaccination coverage: according to the Ministry of Health, while in 2016 the coverage of the first dose of measles vaccine was 90.6% (and even in 2018 it reached 94.5% thanks to a campaign), for In 2020 the coverage for the first vaccine dose it was 77.3% and for the second dose 71.4%.

Although this is a consequence of the pandemic, in 2021 there is almost no recovery of these rates: coverage of the first dose remains at 77.2% and of the second at 78.2%.

“When we don’t have optimal coverage rates, which are 95% every four years, we estimate that a lot of susceptibles accumulate, so these ‘monitoring’ campaigns are carried out, which aim to vaccinate everyone in a short period of time,” he explained Castles.

And he added that “on the other hand, we also have a low sensitivity of the monitoring system, which, although strengthened, must continue to improve. What this allows is that if a case is detected, they can develop rapid strategies to stop transmission.”

“All these factors determine a high risk of outbreaks, both for measles, rubella and mumps, and for polio; therefore, it is key for the population to get their children vaccinated,” he said.

“We want this to be a campaign that reaches the whole population, so we aim for it to be outside the walls, that is, to leave the hospitals and health centers and settle in clubs, in squares, etc.; in this context We will discuss with the Federal Board of Education the possibility of even vaccinating schools,” Vizzotti concluded.

The budget for this follow-up campaign, which will launch on October 1 in Tecnópolis, was more than 2,800 million pesos, of which 283 million were transferred to the provinces to be able to implement it.

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