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The National Vaccination Campaign against polio, a disease that can cause childhood paralysis, takes place between May 27th and June 14th. The movement towards mass immunization will take place across the country, aiming to contain the possibility of the disease returning to Brazil. Vaccines against the disease can be found in Basic Health Units and in private immunization services.

According to the Ministry of Health, vaccination coverage against polio has been showing results below the target of 95% since 2016 and immunization is the only way to prevent the disease.

About the disease

Poliomyelitis, also called polio or infantile paralysis, is an acute viral infectious disease transmitted from one person to another. Caused by the poliovirus, it can infect adults and children through direct contact with secretions, such as saliva, phlegm and mucus; or feces from infected people.

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Vaccines

There are two types of polio vaccines: OPV (Oral Polio Vaccine) and VIP (Inactivated Polio Vaccine), the first of which is administered through droplets, popularly known by the character “Zé Gotinha”, and contains a weaker version of the virus; while the second is administered intramuscularly and contains the inactivated (dead) virus.

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According to the National Immunization Program, VIP has the following vaccination schedule: three doses in the first year of life (2, 4 and 6 months), while VOP has booster doses when the child turns one year and three months; and at 4 years of age, also following vaccination campaigns for children aged 1 to 4 years.


Embed from Getty Images

Child receiving polio vaccine drops (Photo: reproduction/Ramesh Lalwani/Getty Images Embed)

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Changes

The Ministry of Health announced, in July 2023, that it will gradually replace the OPV vaccine with the VIP, after discussion on the subject and approval by the CTAI (Technical Immunization Advisory Chamber), which considered recent research and scientific evidence .

With the change, the immunization schedule, counting only on the VIP (the one with the inactivated virus), will be three doses in the first year of life (at 2, 4 and 6 months) and only one booster when this child reaches the age of 15 months.

Even with the extinction of VOP, Zé Gotinha, a crucial character in the immunization campaign, will continue the country's immunization campaigns.

Featured photo: baby receiving intramuscular vaccine (Reproduction/Pinterest/@nicoledias)

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