Many non-Brazilians, even epidemiologists, were amazed by announcing in November 2021 that São Paulo had achieved universal full vaccination of adults against Covid-19. Finally, São Paulo is one of the five largest cities in the world, which poses potential logistical challenges to reach 100%.
There were also political obstacles to overcome across the country. President Jair Bolsonaro has also spread ridiculous misinformation throughout the pandemic delay vaccination. (More recently he is against vaccination of children aged 5 to 11 years, which began in January 2022.) But most Bolsonaro supporters have ignored his vaccine-related tirades.
Overall, Brazil’s high vaccination coverage should come as no surprise.
Although there are of course vaccination hesitations and deep health differences, Brazil has had a strong vaccination culture for years. This is linked the strength of state institutions. The campaigns and demands of the public health system, public schools and public aid programs have contributed to the full normalization of vaccination.
“Brazil and São Paulo have always been a model for excellent immunization campaigns through the universal health care system, low vaccination hesitancy and high uptake,” said Otavio T. Ranzani, an epidemiology researcher at the University of São Paulo (as well as an assistant professor at the Barcelona Institute for Global Health). . And “unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic has affected the population of São Paulo in a major way, which is a factor motivating vaccination coverage.”
Brazil, like some other countriesShe even has a vaccination mascot. Since 1985, the character Zé Gotinha (Droplet Joe). helped to overcome suspicion the publication of vaccination programs – although Bolsonaro’s government has limited its role during the pandemic.
Vaccine uptake is high across Brazil. According to the US Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) from December 23, 202192% of people aged 12 and over in Brazil said they would accept or are likely to accept a Covid-19 vaccine. In no federal state was the percentage below 80%. (Some other Latin American countries also have high vaccine acceptance rates — reaching 100% in Brazil’s neighbors Colombia and Argentina.)
Willingness to get vaccinated has been high throughout the pandemic. In January 2021, 89.5% of Brazilians surveyed online said they wanted to be vaccinated against Covid-19.
This does not necessarily result in high actual vaccination, in part due to supply issues. From December 13th, according to IHME data, 62% of people in Brazil were fully vaccinated, while 72% had received only one dose.
To some extent, Brazilians have set out to gain access. In fact, the vaccination rate of São Paulo exceeds 101% because non-residents travel there to get bitten. The city has long been a magnet for migrants and visitors.
The Covid-19 vaccines used in Brazil were not always the most effective. But even the less effective vaccines have helped reduce case numbers. for example in Serrana in the state of São Paulo. In São Paulo, the distribution of higher potency vaccines has helped Dramatically reduce coronavirus infections and hospitalizations.
“The vaccination success was able to reduce the massive burden caused by the gamma wave in São Paulo,” says Ranzani. Another notable achievement in São Paulo and elsewhere was the containment of delta spread, resulting in a much lower number of cases, hospitalizations and deaths than expected.”
The speed and breadth of vaccine rollout boosted São Paulo’s immunization coverage. “There was a quick and coordinated allocation of doses,” comments Ranzani. Vaccination was made widely available (weekends, public holidays, sometimes 24 hours a day); location (mobile units); and reaching out to vulnerable populations (homeless, those with overdue second doses).
Nevertheless, an extremely high vaccination is not a panacea. In a press conference on Dec, said Carissa F. Etienne, director of the Pan American Health Organization, that Omicron “has resulted in an increase in reinfections, even among those who are fully vaccinated. This new wave of infections will not be “mild” for our healthcare systems as the Omicron variant is already challenging our healthcare workers and limiting care for other diseases.”
And Ranzani notes: “I don’t think we should consider the concept of ‘herd immunity’ as a public health goal right now. The arrival and spread of omicron has shown it again.” Across Brazil, The range of refresher shots is currently short.
But as São Paulo enters new phases of the pandemic, it shows that a strong public health service and the legacy of vaccination can replace politics to protect as many people as possible.