In the last seven days, Rio de Janeiro registered 6,500 cases of Influenza A. For the municipal secretary of Health, Daniel Soranz, this indicates that the city is facing an outbreak of the disease. He said that, among the cases noted, 23 children are currently hospitalized in the city’s public health system with symptoms of influenza A H3N2.
“It’s a significant amount, that’s why we’re calling on the entire population to get vaccinated as soon as possible,” said the secretary in an interview with Brazil Agency.
Today, the mayor of Rio, Eduardo Paes, canceled the schedule because he also has the disease. He stated that he will continue working remotely.
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The increase in positive results for Influenza A was observed in samples collected in sentinel health units. “We have a raise [de casos] in some places. We are seeing an increase in Rocinha, Vila Kennedy and also some cases in the central region of the city. Flu is a vaccine-preventable disease. It can be contained with vaccination and we need people from Rio to get vaccinated. Our expectation is that, with the increase in vaccine coverage for the flu, there will be a reduction in cases”, said the secretary.
The current vaccination coverage of the target audience of the flu immunization campaign is 55.7%. Soranz also stated that there is no specific region that concerns him more at the moment.
“All regions are concerned. It is important that people get vaccinated in all regions of the city. Coverage needs to grow. It is essential that, especially children aged six months to six years, the elderly over 60 years and pregnant women, get vaccinated. They are the groups that are most at risk of becoming seriously ill. We have already had 23 children who had to be hospitalized for Influenza A H3N2 in Rio and it is very important that everyone look for a clinic to get vaccinated as soon as possible”, explained the Secretary of Health.
Influenza strains change every year and according to the secretary, H3N2 is the one that has infected people today. “It changes, that’s why it’s important to get vaccinated every year with that strain that’s in action”, he detailed.
As the symptoms of influenza coincide with some of the covid-19, before the start of winter in Rio, the secretariat intensified the vaccination campaign against the flu to prevent the emergence of cases and also make a difference between the two diseases. Now, although covid-19 records have dropped in the capital, the concern is with the spread of Influenza A.
“We need campaigns to intensify all the time and now, with the very low number of covid cases in Rio de Janeiro, with the very large drop in covid cases, the Influenza virus has occupied this space. It is important that we vaccinate to prevent the spread of Influenza A in Rio”, he stated.
The Health Secretary noted that anyone can go to the clinics to get vaccinated against the flu. The posts are also doing tests for covid-19 for those who arrive with similar symptoms between the two diseases. The vaccine is available at Primary Care Units in the City of Rio, such as Family Clinics and Municipal Health Centers, from Monday to Friday, from 8 am to 5 pm.
The Immunization Management of the State Department of Health (SES) reported that vaccination against Influenza will continue at health posts for the entire population until the end of stocks of the immunizing agent. According to SES, so far, 4,465,252 people have been vaccinated across the state of Rio de Janeiro. “Of this total, only 58.4% of the population of the state that is part of the target audience of the campaign received the immunizing agent”, informed the secretariat, stressing the importance of vaccinating the most vulnerable groups, “such as children, elderly, pregnant women, women who gave birth less than 45 days ago, people with comorbidities such as cardiovascular and pulmonary diseases and diabetes, in addition to immunosuppressed people”.
Regarding the boost against covid-19, Rio continues to immunize with the third dose, in the heterologous vaccine system, different from that applied in the two previous doses.
“The heterologous vaccine is safe and increases immunity levels. Rio de Janeiro has already applied more than 1.2 million doses of booster vaccines, the vast majority of them with heterologous vaccination. The heterologous vaccine for the elderly in Rio almost zeroed the number of hospitalized for covid-19 in the city”, he revealed, adding that the municipality has maintained vaccination against covid-19 in accordance with guidelines from the Ministry of Health.
The Municipal Health Department pointed out that “a person with flu or covid-19 symptoms should not take the vaccine.”
Subject amended at 3:35 pm to add information.
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