By Xiu Ying
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – According to the Brazilian Health Ministry, there were 199 registered fatalities from influenza in Brazil through June 3rd, 2019. The H1N1 virus has caused the majority (74.4 percent).
The total number of deaths is lower than at the same date last year, when the flu had killed 335 people. However, the number of H1N1 cases has increased. In 2018, the virus was related to 65 percent of deaths by epidemiological week 21. This year, the increase was almost 10 percentage points.
The national flu vaccination campaign ended in May with the immunization of 80 percent of the target population, below the 90 percent goal. As a result, the remaining doses have been made available to the entire population.
Some cities and states, however, may restrict immunization to priority groups (the elderly, children, pregnant women, women who gave birth recently, indigenous, individuals with chronic diseases, health professionals, inmates, and some public servants).
The vaccine cannot induce the flu in its recipient. It enables the patient to become immune to the most common viral strains in circulation without falling ill.
The 2019 vaccine protects against the three influenza virus subtypes circulating most in the Southern Hemisphere over the past year, according to the World Health Organization (WHO): H1N1, H3N2, and B/Victoria/2/87 strain.