Over 12 Million Brazilians Immunized against Flu

Brasilia, May 8 (Prensa Latina) Over 12 million Brazilians have been immunized against flu during the ongoing nationwide vaccination campaign, which began on April 25 and ends May 13, according to an official report published on Saturday.

The latest report from the Health Ministry, which contains data from states and municipalities as of Friday, says 50 percent of the 24 million Brazilians targeted for vaccination have received their shots.

The 24-million plan accounts for 80 percent of all Brazilians included in the so-called at-risk groups, including people over 60, pregnant women, indigenous people, children aged seven months to two years, and health workers.

The vaccine administered this year not only protects people against the three main flu viruses circulating in the southern hemisphere, but also against A(H1N1) influenza. The only contraindication is for those who are allergic to eggs.

When announcing the National Vaccination Campaign against Influenza, Brazilian Health Minister Alexander Padilha pointed out that the decision to include pregnant women and children aged seven months to two years was based on the fact that those groups are prone to develop complications from flu.

Padilha said people need to be aware that they should go to one of the 65,000 medical posts available for the campaign, for which the Health Ministry had acquired 33 million doses of vaccine.

National Secretary of Health Surveillance Jarbas Barbosa said 75 percent of respiratory infections are linked to the influenza virus.

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