Digital Medicine – Vaccination, in times of pandemic

Mexico City. The coronavirus pandemic is dragging on, and to top it off, the peak season for another infectious disease is just around the corner: influenza. At a time when respiratory diseases have gained relevance in the global public interest, medical experts highlighted during the 3rd Flu Summit: ‘Together protecting the world’, the importance of vaccination against the influenza virus as a priority issue on the agenda national.

As a direct result of vaccination, approximately 2 to 3 million lives are saved each year.[iii] However, being one of the most effective public health interventions, 3 to 5 million serious influenza cases are reported worldwide.[iv] and there is an annual estimate of 290,000 to 650,000 respiratory deaths as a consequence of complications from this disease.[v]

“All people are at risk of contracting influenza, since the disease is easily transmitted by coughing, sneezing or talking, however, there are certain groups of people who are more vulnerable to developing complications associated with influenza such as people who they live with diabetes, cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, those over 50, pregnant women and children, among others. These people should be vaccinated as soon as the influenza season begins, starting in October, ”commented Dr. Ricardo Iglesias, from the University of Buenos Aires, Argentina.

After an influenza infection, the risk of a heart attack increases 10 times, while people living with diabetes are 3 to 6 times more likely to be hospitalized and the risk of death from complications is 6 times greater in this group .[vi] “Fortunately, we can face this scenario thanks to vaccination, which today is the most effective way to prevent influenza and especially for people at high risk of complications,” added Iglesias.

For her part, Dr. Flor Muñoz, from Texas Children’s Hospital in the United States of America, mentioned that “Despite all efforts, influenza viruses continue to represent one of the greatest infectious disease challenges worldwide, hence the importance of protecting against influenza and especially now that it will coexist with the circulation of SARS – Cov2 that causes COVID-19 ”. She also stressed that “It is very important to vaccinate the school-age population, since they are considered super-spreaders of the virus to the rest of the community. Only in 2019, this group was the second most affected by influenza, hence vaccination for this population group becomes important during the influenza season that is about to begin ”.

The challenge: recover vaccination schedules

Currently, the world faces multiple health challenges ranging from outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases such as measles and diphtheria, to doubts about the benefits of vaccines (reluctance or rejection) that threaten to reverse the progress made. in the fight against vaccine-preventable diseases.[vii]

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and according to the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), vaccination coverage rates worldwide have gone down.[viii]. So far in 2020, in Mexico vaccination coverage of children under one year of age decreased by 21% versus the first half of 2019[ix] and only 4 out of 10 children under one year of age have an incomplete vaccination schedule,[x] For this reason, today more than ever and despite the pandemic, it is extremely important to go to vaccinate babies and children following all safety measures since the clinics remain open and the vaccination programs have not stopped.

For his part, Dr. Gary Marshall, Pediatric Infectologist and Chief of the Division of Pediatric Infectology at the University of Louisville School of Medicine, stated that: “Vaccines are among the great achievements that humanity has had and represent one of the safest medical developments in the world, as its main function is disease prevention. On the contrary, resistance to vaccination can lead to significant damage to health and the suspension of vaccination services could become a great threat to life. “

“We continue to face challenges such as access and distrust in vaccines that keep us exposed to threats that could be fatal if not attended to in time, so it is relevant to share scientific information on the subject in order to increase trust and therefore increase vaccination rates ”. Today more than ever and in the face of the panorama that the world is experiencing, we must understand the value of vaccination and make use of all the vaccines that today can help us prevent more than 26 diseases ”, concluded Marshall.

For its part, Sanofi Pasteur reinforced its commitment to protecting public health through the essential supply of influenza vaccine worldwide and reaffirmed its purpose to continue working so that no one suffers or dies from a preventable disease caused by vaccination.

Drafting MD

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[i] UNICEF (2020). Immunize the children who need it most, available at: https://www.unicef.org/es/immunizacion

[ii] WHO (2019). WHO launches new global influenza strategy, available at: https://www.who.int/es/news-room/detail/11-03-2019-who-launches-new-global-influenza-strategy

[iii] UNICEF (2020). Immunize the children who need it most, available at: https://www.unicef.org/es/immunizacion

[iv] WHO (2018). Influenza (Seasonal), available at: https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/influenza-(seasonal)

[v] WHO (2019). WHO launches new global influenza strategy, available at: https://www.who.int/es/news-room/detail/11-03-2019-who-launches-new-global-influenza-strategy

[vi] Sanofi Pasteur (2020). Influenza is a serious infection that can have unexpected, severe consequences, disponible en: https://www.sanofi.com/-/media/Project/One-Sanofi-Web/Websites/Global/Sanofi-COM/Home/media-room/fact-sheet/Backgrounder_SP_Influenza_EN_20200811.pdf?la=en&hash=3263B4212502ECC20B3D3895DD0D6DFF

[vii] PAHO (2019). What are the top 10 health threats in 2019, available at: https://www.paho.org/hq/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=14916:ten-threats-to-global-health-in -2019 & Itemid = 135 & lang = en

[viii] WHO (2020). WHO and UNICEF warn of a decrease in vaccinations during COVID-19, available at: https://www.who.int/es/news-room/detail/15-07-2020-who-and-unicef- warn-of-a-decline-in-vaccinations-during-covid-19

[ix] General Directorate of Health Information (2019-2020). Dynamic Cubes. Services Granted 2019 and 2020, available at: http://sinba08.salud.gob.mx/cubos/cubosis2019_plataforma_sinba.htm and http://sinba08.salud.gob.mx/cubos/cubosis2020_sinba.htm

[x] General Directorate of Health Information (2019-2020). Dynamic Cubes. Services Granted 2019 and 2020, available at: http://sinba08.salud.gob.mx/cubos/cubosis2019_plataforma_sinba.htm and http://sinba08.salud.gob.mx/cubos/cubosis2020_sinba.htm

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