The Forgotten Importance of Vaccination: Mario Luis Fuentes

Mario Luis Fuentes

In April 2023, the director of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) called on countries in the region, and especially countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, to “urgently intensify routine vaccination efforts,” given the highest level of vaccination data. rate of preventable disease outbreaks over the past 30 years.

According to PAHO, Latin America is the region in the world with the worst vaccination coverage, as some 2.7 million girls and boys in the region lacked access to full vaccine protection against diphtheria, tetanus, polio and measles, of which some outbreaks have been reported. was reported in our country in the same year and now a new warning is being sounded in different places as a new outbreak caused by the same disease may be reported.

The above is important to highlight because, according to the organization itself, in 2010, the Americas region was the second region in the world with the highest level of reported vaccination coverage, while, as noted, a decade later it ranked only below Africa.

Mexico is one of the countries that has contributed most to the deepening of this trend in recent years, since according to official information there has been a very significant drop in the vaccination rate, both in the group less than 1 year old and in the scheme covering the group up to five years.

In this context, the Epidemiological Bulletin of the Ministry of Health reports that 2,532 cases of measles were reported in 2022; and up to week 52 of 2023, 2,208 cases were reported. The total number of cases up to the fourth week of 2024 is 104 cases, roughly the same as the 102 cases recorded for the same period in 2023.

On the other hand, regarding rotavirus enteritis, 1012 cases were reported in 2023 compared to 792 reported in 2022, an increase of 27.7% in just one year. Similarly, 155 cases of pertussis were reported in 2023, which contrasts with 44 cases in 2022; This represents an increase of 252% in one year and should be a cause for concern in the healthcare sector.

As for meningococcal meningitis, 31 cases were reported in 2023 compared to 11 reported in 2022, almost triple the number in the previous year. And although in absolute terms they seem to be “a few cases”, in reality very serious attention needs to be paid, since outbreaks of diseases that have already been considered on the path to eradication may occur.

Continuing with the list of diseases that can be prevented through vaccination, the Ministry of Health reported that a total of 136 cases were reported in 2023, compared to 39 reported in all of 2022; and monkeypox with 312 cases in 2023, which is a completely new outbreak for the country in 2023.

For chickenpox, 41,198 cases were reported in 2023, compared to 34,759 reported in 2022. This represents a growth of 18.52% in just one year; and in this particular case, this is of particular importance because infection with chickenpox predisposes people to herpes zoster in adulthood, a disease that can also be prevented by vaccination, but for which little information is available to determine vaccine coverage rates in older people. 50 years.

On the other hand, there are cases of viral hepatitis A and B. Of these, 6977 cases were reported in 2023 compared to 4201 in 2022; that is, 66% more for both years; while type B recorded 830 cases in 2023 compared to 611 in 2022, equivalent to a 35.8% increase between both periods.

As can be seen, there are a large number of diseases where the number of cases reported and confirmed by the health sector has increased significantly; and at the same time, cuts to the National Vaccination Program budgets in recent years have led to significant cuts in areas where progress has been made.

The failures that have occurred on this issue are contrary to the principle of progressive human rights, since the fact that vaccination coverage is declining for people of all ages, but especially in the youngest age groups, represents the greatest nonsense due to its specificity. impact on each of them, which does not receive full coverage, but also because of the impact it has on a global level in the field of public health in our country.

It must be said that the National Vaccination Program is one of the most relevant policies that the Mexican state has developed in recent decades and in the creation of which participated exemplary people such as, without a doubt, the great Dr. Jesús Cumate. And this is one of the issues that should not be left aside in public debate, because it is about promoting the institutional consolidation of the country, protecting and improving the best practices that we have created to protect the health of citizens. People.

The dispute over resources to cover a full vaccination schedule for girls and boys is an act of budgetary meanness, but also a blunt vision of the country’s project to fully realize social rights. It is now and always necessary to move towards true universalization and not allow any girl or boy to be left behind in their developmental opportunities for any reason.

Researcher at PUED-UNAM

Source: Aristegui Noticias