At an interagency workshop and a national influenza forum organized by the Mexican pharmaceutical company Sanofi, medical experts noted the importance of expanding coverage of childhood vaccination programs and called on the population to prepare for the upcoming seasonal flu season.
According to a new report from UNICEF, the Mexican population’s acceptance of vaccines is high. An estimated 90% of people recognize its value, which has even increased in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Mexico is a country that is well prepared in terms of vaccination levels, it has one of the strongest national health cards, and we have learned a lot more over the last two and a half years because of the pandemic that we are going through.
As the end of the year approaches and flu season approaches, major high-risk groups (children under 5, seniors over 60, pregnant women, and people of any age with medical conditions such as obesity, diabetes, hypertension, cancer, and HIV/AIDS) can go to the nearest health centers for immunization and protection.
About 15 years ago, Mexico experienced an influenza pandemic during the change of seasons, so protection through vaccination was very important, an effective weapon against deadly diseases such as influenza. Alejandro Macias, infectious disease physician.
The expert, former Minister of Health and Commissioner responsible for the control of the 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemic, explained that at the beginning of the last 2022-2023 season, there was one of the peaks of infections in the past 5 years, and in the new season this year, the influenza virus is expected to Will coexist with Covid-19; respiratory syncytial virus; in addition to other respiratory diseases, the population must follow the instructions of the health authorities and receive vaccinations corresponding to their age group.
During the 2022-2023 flu season, more than 9,000 positive cases of the virus were recorded, with the groups most affected being people over 65 years old, under one year old and young people aged 20 to 29 years.
It is important to take into account that vaccination is recommended for everyone; however, in our country priority is given to groups with a higher risk of complications in case of infection: girls and boys from 6 months to 5 months of age; 60 years old Adults above, pregnant women and anyone with comorbidities such as diabetes, heart disease or obesity.
On the other hand, Dr. Rosa María Wong, Director of the Clinical Research Department of the School of Medicine National Autonomous University of Mexicostressing that vaccines still need to be promoted and promoted during childhood.
According to the 2022 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (ensanut), in the country, only 42% of children under one year old have a complete vaccination schedule, and for boys and girls under two years old, only 26% have age-appropriate protection.
One of the leading causes of death in children under 5 is respiratory illnesses such as influenza and pneumonia; doctors warn that worldwide they are the fourth leading cause of death of all ages Rosa María Wong, head of clinical research at the School of Medicine at the National Autonomous University of Mexico.
So protection through vaccination is crucial, and in that sense we still have a lot of work to do, especially when we talk about childhood vaccinations.
Although the coverage rate of some vaccines exceeds 80%, such as pneumococcal coverage rate of 88% and rotavirus coverage rate of 81%, the coverage rate of other assets considered in the national health card barely reaches 60% and 70%. This was the case for 61% of the triple virus vaccine, or hexavalent vaccine, which protects against six diseases, and 69% of children who received three doses of the vaccine.
In addition to this, we must also consider that other diseases not included in vaccination records, such as respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), are increasing.
The expert talked about the importance of vaccines in our society, which save at least 4 million lives every year; the most recent example is the control of the Covid-19 pandemic due to the global distribution of assets and the generation of herd immunity.
Science and diverse alliances between academia, the public and private sectors, and civil society have enabled society as a whole to improve life expectancy.
We must not lose sight of the fact that vaccines save lives and, with them, families can grow and stay intact. The researcher added that parents and caregivers are obliged to visit the appropriate health centers to ensure that children receive the vaccines they need for adequate development. National Autonomous University of Mexico School of Medicine
For Sanofi, we have to educate people at the beginning of winter about the challenges that the 2023 shutdown will bring because we will have different viruses circulating, especially several respiratory viruses that can easily become complex. This leaves the 2023-2024 school year just beginning as the risk of respiratory illness has been shown to increase by 70%, the Ministry of Health said. Dr. Alejandrina Malacara, Medical Director of Sanofi Mexico’s Vaccines Division.
However, we have vaccines that are good for us and we must take advantage of them. Therefore, we insist that people who belong to the high-risk groups identified by our health authorities get vaccinated against influenza and other diseases; in addition to ensuring that young children are properly protected.
The medical director added that Sanofi Mexico offers 14 vaccines for all stages of life and that more than 40 million people in the country receive one of the vaccines every year against seasonal influenza or early childhood diseases, as well as a combination vaccine for children.