Schedule of the 2023 National Vaccination Program affects the ENSP

By Barbara Souza

The announcement of the 2023 National Vaccination Program schedule by the Ministry of Health this Tuesday (1/02) had a very positive impact on the Sergio Arouca National School of Public Health (ENSP/Fiocruz). “We welcome this disclosure with praise and reaffirm our confidence in public authorities”, said the deputy director of the Public Health Clinic and Laboratory (VDAL/ENSP), Fátima Rocha. The schedule foresees the start of actions on February 27, with vaccination with bivalent booster doses against Covid-19 in people at greater risk of developing severe forms of the disease, such as the elderly and people with disabilities. An intensification of the Influenza campaign is also planned, in April, before the arrival of winter, when cases of respiratory diseases increase. In May, there will be a multi-vaccination action against polio and measles in schools.

Fátima Rocha highlights the importance of communication strategies and Health education throughout compliance with the schedule. “It will be fundamental for the work of qualifying the importance of immunization for life, for collective care. This is what immunization is: when someone is vaccinated, he not only protects himself, but also others. It is collective protection. And this is an important value that ended up being disregarded mainly in recent years”, emphasized the deputy director.

The role of health professionals from this moment on is another point underlined by Fátima Rocha. “We have no doubt that, after this period of resistance, we will have more energy and more possibilities to expand access to vaccination. Health workers need and deserve to be valued for their great contribution, as they have always been the guardians of this care. They will be instrumental in restoring trust and understanding about the relevance of vaccination,” she said.

Health workers are part of the target audience for the first stage of the schedule, so they will receive a booster dose with the bivalent vaccine against Covid-19. Also included in this priority group are people over 60 years of age, pregnant and puerperal women, immunocompromised patients, people with disabilities, people living in Long Stay Institutions (ILP), indigenous peoples, riverside communities and quilombolas. The Ministry of Health estimates that this group totals 52 million people.

Researcher at ENSP’s Department of Social Sciences, Elyne Engstrom also positively evaluates the disclosure of the schedule. She recalls that vaccination takes place continuously in health units, but argues that it is necessary to “organize specific offers and also carry out a national mobilization in relation to vaccines”. Elyne also believes that the initiative will contribute to the planning of the entire chain of people involved in vaccination. “The rise of diseases that are preventable with vaccines, such as measles, in addition to influenza and Covid-19, for example, makes both the picture of the population’s illness and the vaccination schedule for different audiences even more complex. with age group and comorbid conditions. The schedule allows for more planning, for example, the supply of these vaccines, so that there is stock and distribution to the units. It also enables more direct and more planned communication with health services, professionals and the population. I hope that, with this, we will have an improvement in the rates of vaccination coverage, ”she said.

The stages and phases defined in the schedule were organized according to existing stocks, new orders placed and delivery commitments assumed by vaccine manufacturers. The schedule was agreed upon during several meetings, since the beginning of the year, with representatives of the National Council of Health Secretaries (Conass), National Council of Municipal Health Secretaries (Conasems), technicians and specialists from the Technical Advisory Board on Immunization (Ctai ) and at the first meeting of the Tripartite Interagency Commission (CIT) in 2023, and can be changed, advanced or overlapped, if the delivery scenario is modified or as soon as new laboratories have their requests approved by the National Health Surveillance Agency (Anvisa).

Here’s the five-step timeline:

Stage 1 – February

Vaccination against Covid-19 (reinforcement with the bivalent vaccine)

Target Audience:

• People at higher risk of severe forms of Covid-19;

• People over 60 years old;

• Pregnant women and postpartum women;

• Immunocompromised patients;

• Disabled people;

• People living in Long Stay Institutions (ILP);

• Indigenous, riverine and quilombola peoples;

• Health workers and workers.

Stage 2 – March

Intensification of vaccination against Covid-19

Target Audience:

• The entire population over 12 years old.

Step 3 – March

Intensification of Covid-19 vaccination among children and adolescents

Target Audience:

• Children aged 6 months to 17 years.

Strategies and actions:

• Mobilize the school community, from Kindergarten to High School with two weeks of mobilization and guidance activities; communicate students, parents and guardians about the need to take the Vaccination Booklet for evaluation;

Step 4 – April

Influenza Vaccination

Target Audience:

• People over 60 years old;

• Adolescents in socio-educational measures;

• Truck drivers;

• Children from 6 months to 4 years old;

• Armed forces;

• Security and Rescue Forces;

• Pregnant women and postpartum women;

• Disabled people;

• People with comorbidities;

• Population deprived of liberty;

• Indigenous, riverine and quilombola peoples;

• Teachers and professors;

• Public transport professionals;

• Port professionals;

• Professionals from the Deprivation of Liberty System;

• Female and male health workers.

Step 5 – May

Polio and measles multivaccination in schools

Strategies and actions:

• Mobilize the school community, with two weeks of mobilization and orientation activities; reduce pockets of unvaccinated; communicate students, parents and guardians about the need to take the Vaccination Booklet for evaluation;

low coverage

Brazil, considered a pioneering country in vaccination campaigns, has been showing setbacks in this field since 2016. Virtually all vaccine coverage is below the target. Therefore, the objective is to resume the high percentages of protection. See the table for vaccine coverage by type of vaccine, by year and by group in Brazil, from 2012 to 2022:


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