Expanded Immunization Program Director Emphasizes Importance of Vaccination
Hexavalent Vaccine Now Available for Public Sector
June 16, 2023 – 11:56
Dr. Héctor Castro, director of the Expanded Immunization Program (PAI), highlighted the significance of vaccinating vulnerable groups, including children, the elderly, and individuals with underlying health conditions. He particularly emphasized the need for protection against the rising prevalence of respiratory viruses. Furthermore, he announced that starting Monday, hexavalent vaccines, which safeguard infants against various dangerous diseases, will be accessible.
Although the hexavalent vaccine was already available in the private sector, Dr. Héctor Castro confirmed in a press conference that it will now be administered at a national level in the public sector. This single-dose vaccine provides protection against diphtheria, tetanus, hepatitis B, poliomyelitis, pertussis (whooping cough), and Haemophilus bacteria.
Who is Eligible for Vaccination?
The hexavalent vaccine replaces the pentavalent and anti-polio vaccines, streamlining the immunization process with a single injection. Infants born from April 2023 onwards can receive this new vaccine. According to the updated immunization schedule, the first dose should be administered when the child reaches two months of age. Further details regarding subsequent doses can be obtained from attending pediatricians.
Dr. Castro emphasized the importance of the Ministry of Health’s initiative to make this new vaccine available, as many children are currently suffering from these diseases without prior protection.
Highlighting the significance of protecting the most vulnerable population, Dr. Castro urged the administration of influenza and COVID-19 vaccines to pregnant women, young children, and older adults due to the increasing prevalence of respiratory viruses.
He expressed concern over the low vaccination rates, with only 36% of pregnant women receiving the flu vaccine and a mere 24% of adults over 60 years of age being vaccinated. The situation is even more critical for children under three years old, with influenza vaccination rates not exceeding 20%. Dr. Castro stressed the importance of incorporating vaccination as an integral part of healthcare.
As Father’s Day approaches, Dr. Castro took the opportunity to urge families to prioritize the well-being of their loved ones. With the circulation of numerous viruses, he emphasized the need to protect parents and grandparents, stating, “We must understand that our parents and grandparents deserve the best care.”