Imprimir Republish

Letter from the editor | 313

A worrying drop

After a slow start, Brazil is now one of the top 10 countries with regard to the percentage of the population vaccinated against COVID-19. The country’s National Immunization Program (PNI), managed by the public health system (SUS), offers 29 vaccines as routine, at no cost to the public. The PNI has been so successful that it reached almost universal coverage between 2010 and 2015, a period during which the percentage of children vaccinated was sufficient to control or eliminate many serious diseases.

Since 2015, however, immunization rates have been falling in Brazil, a topic highlighted in this journal’s August 2018 cover story. The numbers showed a slight improvement that year, but the downward trend continued afterwards. Since 2020, with restrictions imposed by the novel coronavirus pandemic, childhood vaccination rates have decreased worldwide—by as much as 65% in some states in Brazil.

Many of the questions asked in 2018 are still unanswered, but recent studies are helping experts better understand the problem. The decline is not homogeneous nationwide, and special editor Ricardo Zorzetto describes how more targeted strategies and interventions can be adopted by identifying the most affected municipalities.

The fight against COVID-19 has benefited from rapid circulation of research results. Publishers have established faster routes to publish articles on the topic, while the use of preprints (scientific papers yet to undergo peer review) has grown. An analysis of some of the studies and results shared in this way found that prioritizing speed has not had a significant negative impact on quality. It should be noted, however, that the survey was based on the subgroup of preprints that later underwent peer review and were published in journals, rather than all preprints related to the novel coronavirus.

From the Brazilian company hoping to see a return of turboprop aircraft for regional flights to plumes of pollution over the city of São Paulo that originated from the eruption of an underwater volcano near the Tonga archipelago in Oceania, this month’s issue offers a perfect example of the diverse range of interests in scientific and technological research. One topic currently on the agenda is the bicentennial of Brazil’s Independence, which is covered with regard to the country’s financial history and in the Retrospect section, which describes the contributions made by José da Silva Lisboa, the Viscount of Cairu. As a major proponent of liberalism, he sought to adapt the philosophy to the situation in Brazil, but without changing its fundamental principles.

Children and young adults, the primary victims of the drop in vaccination rates, are the focus of two other articles in this issue. Video games developed by researchers in fields ranging from mathematics to health and history can enrich the classroom experience. Finally, there is an overview of Russian children’s literature from the first half of the twentieth century, which was often published alongside beautiful illustrations, as shown in the reproductions that accompany our text.