The country’s private immunization clinics should act as allies of the Ministry of Health in the recovery of vaccine coverage.
According to Eder Gatti, secretary of the Department of the National Immunization Program (DPNI), the government cannot turn a blind eye to the doses applied in the private vaccination network.
“When the Ministry [da Saúde] calculates the vaccination coverage of meningococcal meningitis C [ofertada no SUS]you cannot ignore all the children who are vaccinated in the private network with the ACWY meningococcal vaccine [que inclui os sorotipos A, W e Y, não disponíveis na rede pública]. In other words, for the Ministry of Health it is important to know the proportion of the protected population and the susceptible population because this is one of the surveillances that we carry out”, said Gatti.
The speech took place last Thursday morning (8), at the 6th National Congress of Vaccine Clinics, in São Paulo.
Until 2015, private vaccination clinics entered the dose data applied in a system called SI-PNI Rotina, while application data in the public network were entered in the SI-PNI. In recent years, however, the health department has tried to migrate the data entry systems for applied doses, a process that was accelerated during the Covid pandemic.
Now, all PNI vaccination data are available in the RNDS system (National Health Data Network). The idea is that private clinics will also have their data migrated through the SI-PNI and that, little by little, this integration will also be done with the RNDS.
According to the secretary, the private sector needs to adhere to the unified information system, but he recognizes that there are challenges, such as the lack of standardization of information and systems that were not integrated in the past.
“There is indeed a problem since 2015 of falling vaccination coverage in the country, but this problem is multifactorial, and one of the factors is data error. This is one of the points we are trying to improve now in the DPNI”, he said.
“In the future, individuals will be able to have in their digital wallet [ConecteSUS] vaccine data he took at the health center, at the private clinic, which dose is overdue. This is going to be important data not only to encourage public policies and campaign strategies, but also for the very citizen or end consumer”, he said.
On the 1st, the Ministry of Health published a joint information note (n° 4/2023) in which it definitively terminates the use of the SI-PNI platform. Now, all data will be integrated with CadÚnico, the user’s registration with the government, and with the RNDS via ConectaSUS.
“In the case of private immunization clinics, this process will happen gradually, with data being first entered into the SI-PNI. But it is essential that we get the tools to adapt the systems and improve the administrative data on vaccination coverage”, declares Gatti.
There are currently 3,000 private immunization clinics in the country, which represent about 10% of the sector, according to data from ABCVac (Brazilian Association of Vaccine Clinics). Most of them complement the children’s vaccine schedule, recommended in the PNI.
The most recent data available show that around 900,000 doses were applied in private clinics in 2023. In 2022, there were around 2.8 million doses, a number that Gatti considers to be underreported precisely because of the lack of standardization in the records.
In some cases, private clinics also offer vaccines to audiences that are not included in national immunization campaigns, such as flu vaccination in people in the younger age group (18 to 40 years old) and who are not health professionals or pregnant women. .
“It is necessary to stop looking at the myth that vaccination in the public network is bad and vaccine in the private network is better”, said Miriam Tendler, researcher at Fiocruz and who also participated in the 6th National Congress of Vaccine Clinics, last Thursday (8).
“The competitiveness between the pharmaceutical industries is also harmful. We need to work so that vaccination is something people seek”, added Gláucia Vespa, medical director of vaccines for Latin America at Grupo Adium, in partnership with Moderna.
Since January 2022, Covid vaccines can be found in private clinics in the country. The low vaccination coverage of reinforcements, however, worries the health department, since the new strains of the virus can take advantage of the so-called decay of immunity and cause waves of the disease.
Other vaccines, such as the quadrivalent flu vaccine, launched in March and called Efluelda, offer high protection, especially in the elderly, thus complementing immunization in the public campaign.