Coronavirus

In Brazil, pandemic and anti-vax wave hinders polio fight

Polio vaccination coverage is way down in Brazil, raising fears that the disease could make a comeback. Photo: Bernard Chantal/Shutterstock.com
Polio vaccination coverage is way down in Brazil, raising fears that the disease could make a comeback. Photo: Bernard Chantal/Shutterstock.com

The convergence of problems caused by the Covid-19 pandemic is already putting Brazil’s historical battle against polio in jeopardy. The country has a yearly goal of vaccinating 95 percent of children against the disease, but 2021 and 2020 saw immunization levels hit their lowest since before 2012.

The polio vaccine managed to eliminate the disease from Brazil three decades ago, but there are fears it could be making a return. Three out of every 10 kids did not receive vaccination in 2021. Experts blame this poor performance on anti-vax sentiment and a lack of investment in public health. 

Renato Kfouri, director of the Brazilian Immunization Society (SBIm), told news website G1 that vaccine abandonment has hindered the immunization plans of “several other diseases, not just polio.”