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Plans of vaccination of the state of Texas and Mexico

Officials of public health gather to exchange knowledge on the plans of vaccination of the State of Texas and Mexico. They seek to avoid that the application of the basic plan of vaccination in the children that emigrate from one side of the border to another be duplicated.

El Paso, TX., March 5, 2009 (PAHO/WHO).-  The Pan American Health Organization /World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO) / U.S.-Mexico Border Office in partnership with the Texas Department of Health Services in El Paso, TX, and the Jurisdicción de Salud Sanitaria II, Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua will provided the 2009 Texas-Mexico Immunization Comparison Tool Workshop. 

The purpose of this workshop, the first of a series of workshops to be held along the border, was to increase existing knowledge on the State of Texas – and the Mexico immunization schedules among health care providers about the immunization schedules through the 2009 Texas-Mexico Immunization Comparison Tool with the overall goal of assuring adequate vaccination to all children.

The high mobility on the border and different vaccination schemes.

Dr. Hector Puertas Rincones, Director of the Sanitary Jurisdiction II of the Health Services in Chihuahua,  emphasized that, “This equivalence as for the system of vaccination of El Paso – City Juárez is sought, to avoid that the application of the vaccines be duplicated when the children change of residence, something that occurs often in the border cities.  Having an equivalent one, also helps to maintain eradicated the illnesses as in this case is the tuberculosis, is the poliomyelitis, is the hepatitis B, the hepatitis TO, to prevent them as a group with all the vaccines that apply right now in both sides of the border”.

Strategies of interinstitutional coordination to give agreement to the preventive attention and to avoid the duplicity

Experts highlighted that the possibility of making comparisons among the existing immunization schedules in Mexico and the State of Texas, particularly used by the population of the border states and cities that maintain an economic and social exchange among themselves, are a great opportunity to advance toward the coordinated binational agenda and to complement efforts for the health of the border population.

"These efforts and the joint work can take to the achievement of successes such as, the scope and maintenance of sufficient vaccination coverage to guarantee public health of the population served, expressed Maria Teresa Cerqueira, PhD, Chief of the PAHO/WHO U.S.-Mexico Border Office. 

The tool will help health care providers to understand the immunization schedules of the State of Texas and Mexico’s immunization schedules and orientate them about children and adolescents that initiate with one vaccination schedule in one side of the border and want to continue it in the other side of the border.

Dr. Cerqueira added that, "in the globalized world in which we live today, the U.S.-Mexico borderline continues to increase its vulnerability to suffer epidemics and vaccine-preventable disease outbreaks, to the accelerate the volume and speed of exchange between the two countries, pointing out that the negative impact is reflected even more in the vulnerable and disadvantaged populations." 

Challenges and differences in the cover of the basic plans of vaccination of Texas and Chihuahua

An additional challenge to the national systems of health of Texas and Chihuahua, is the effort in maintaining covers of vaccination above the 95%, that protect the population, just like the eradication of transmissible illnesses. 

“In Juárez we have an average of 93.8 percentage that all our children less than 5 years old are protected against these illnesses, to national level we are around the 95%, we have states that have covers even in a 100%”, Dr. Puertas Rincones affirmed.

A difference is that in Mexico they have serious problems of tuberculosis, for which applies the vaccine of tuberculosis since the newborns to the 14 years of age, completely free as well as all the basic plan of vaccination in Mexico is completely free.  While in the United States the vaccination for tuberculosis it is not applied, and the vaccines have a cost of application that various from among $10 and $20 dollars. 

In El Paso the level of cover is of 77.4%, the goal to achieve in 2010 is to reach a 90%.  Alejandra Rodarte of the Department of Health of Texas, indicated that "unfortunately still there are parents that refuse that their children receive the vaccines by a badly understanding on the security, parents that by a reason or another do not continue the schedule recommended for vaccines, influencing also in the so low level that we have". 

Rodarte assures that still there is a lot of work of promotion by doing and assuring that those vaccines be available for all the children in the state, all in general, hepatitis B, the tuberculosis, measles, rubella. 

According to Rox Ann Parks, Nursing Program Manager for the Immunization Program for the city of El Paso Department of Public Health, another factor that affects the levels of cover in El Paso, TX, is the form in which they are evaluated, "when they carry out the National Survey of Immunizations, they do a sample of 20 thousand to 30 thousand children from 19 to 35 months of age, but the survey is sent to the suppliers of health, and what happens is that the majority of these do not return the answers to the CDC (Central for the Control of Illnesses of the United States), because of it the levels are so low". 

Parks added that, they expect to improve the methodologies of the surveys and harvesting of information, so that the system throw higher levels for the next year.

Maintaining the efforts managed requires a harmony between the different sectors and among the different institutions of health on both sides of the border. 


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