COVID-19: Continuous vaccination for indigenous now possible in Brazil

The pandemic has brought the chance to enhance indigenous health care

Published in 17/06/2021 - 11:28 By Pedro Ivo de Oliveira - Brasília

Brazil may have a permanent vaccination campaign against COVID-19 for indigenous people. The statement was made by special secretary for Indigenous Health of the Ministry of Health, Robson Santos da Silva.

According to the secretary, the vaccine distribution and application system for indigenous people living in villages can absorb a future demand for constant vaccination against COVID-19, as is the case with other diseases.

“Brazil has a very sophisticated vaccination system. No surprises here. There have been enhancements. A crisis like this one, for instance, brings chances for improvements,” he declared.

The pandemic, he went on to say, has represented an opportunity to expand subsystems in remote areas. Among the improvements are storage and logistics in the distribution of vaccines that must be stowed cold and in special chambers.

“We’ve conducted an active search. We’re always adapting. If [COVID-19] becomes similar to influenza, for instance, vaccination will continue. We have vaccination against influenza every year; it’s continuous. If necessary due to the novel coronavirus, we’ll follow the same path,” said Robson Santos Silva, who attributed the success of the immunization to the support of indigenous leaders and the Armed Forces.

Indigenous health

Regarding health care coverage for other diseases, Silva said ongoing revamping and adaptations have been implemented for the growing Brazilian indigenous population. According to data from the Health Ministry, the indigenous population went from 650 thousand to some 755 thousand individuals in the last five years.

Indices like indigenous people’s life expectancy have also increased, he reported. As a result, disease formerly uncommon started being observed in communities.

“The indigenous population is growing larger and older. There are diseases there were not common, like diabetes and heart issues. When we have such situations of average to high complexity, we need state and federal help. We are reinventing ourselves to better serve this portion of the population,” he added.

Translation: Fabrício Ferreira -  Edition: Graça Adjuto

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