UBSs in the east side of São Paulo vaccinate against Covid-19 people with myopia and astigmatism

Health units in AE Carvalho and Jardim Brasília accepted mild vision problems as comorbidities; PNI considers individuals with permanent visual impairment to be those who have great difficulty or inability to see even with glasses

EFE / Marcial Guillén / ArchiveState of São Paulo included people aged 18 to 59 years with comorbidities or permanent disabilities in its vaccination schedule

People with mild vision problems, such as nearsightedness and astigmatism, have been vaccinated against Covid-19 in Basic Health Units in the city of São Paulo this Friday, 11. Young pan confirmed that two units in the East Zone (UBS AE Carvalho and UBS/AMA Jardim Brasília) were immunizing people with self-reported myopia and astigmatism as comorbidity/permanent disability. THE Young pan, young Juliana*, 24 years old, said that a friend warned her yesterday, on Thursday, 10, that people with such conditions could be vaccinated. According to the National Immunization Plan, individuals with severe permanent visual impairment are those who present at least great difficulty or inability to see even with the use of glasses (if they wear glasses or contact lenses, this assessment must be carried out with these devices). At the press conference last Wednesday, 9th, when the inclusion of people aged 18 to 59 with comorbidities or permanent disabilities who do not receive the Continuous Cash Benefit (BPC) was announced, the criteria presented by the government of Sao Paulo were: permanent physical, sensory (hear/see) and intellectual disability that presented: medical report indicating the disability, proof of attendance at a rehabilitation center or specialized unit, official document indicating the disability, public transport gratuity card or self-declaration — in the absence of any other type of document.

“A friend sent a message asking if I wore glasses and I said yes, that I had a very mild astigmatism, low degree. And she said that because I wear glasses, I could go to the health center to get vaccinated. I asked her for more information, who said that her mother and sister had been vaccinated yesterday at the UBS, taking only proof of address, ID, self-declaration and the SUS card.” This Friday afternoon, it was Juliana’s turn to try her luck (and get it, just like her mother). At 24 and 54 years, the two took the first dose of AstraZeneca/Oxford. “I was expecting the vaccination for 24 years only in September or October, as the governor announced. If there were any impediments, I think they would talk. There was a line of about 20 people. We asked and the girl confirmed that it was okay for us to get vaccinated. She didn’t even ask for a prescription or anything. In line, there were people with other comorbidities, high blood pressure, other types of disabilities. But, in general, there were people who wore glasses and you could see that the degree was not that high,” he reported.

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A Young pan had access to proof of vaccination of people who were vaccinated at UBS AE Carvalho claiming problems with vision. The report also called UBS AE Carvalho, and officials confirmed the guidance, but added that “if the city government investigates these cases and the person is unable to prove the declared comorbidity, it will be able to respond to legal proceedings.” In relation to UBS/AMA Jardim Brasília, the orientation was that “the instruction says that the immunization of individuals with difficulties to see even with the use of glasses/lenses is allowed. You must bring proof of comorbidity or sign the term [de autodeclaração]”. Wanted by the report, the State Department of Health advised that the municipal administration be consulted. THE Municipal Health Department confirmed that one instruction published this Friday opens the door for the group. The document speaks of “individuals with great difficulty or inability to see, even with glasses”. However, if an irregularity is found in the self-declaration, the person can be legally denounced for document falsification.”If there is no supporting document, vaccination will be possible based on the individual’s self-declaration, on this occasion the individual must be informed about the crime of misrepresentation (art. 299 of the Penal Code)”, he said in a statement. “SMS is evaluating the situation so that there is no harm to the immunization of people with permanent disabilities. Within the universe of immunized people, cases of self-declaration correspond to about 2% of the group eligible for vaccination of the disabled”, he concluded.

In March 2021, the president Jair Bolsonaro sanctioned a law that classifies the monocular vision as sensory impairment of the visual type. According to the document, in addition to having problems defining depth, individuals with monocular vision have a reduction of about 25% in the visual field. Visual problems such as nearsightedness and astigmatism are not mentioned. This week, the secretary of Justice and Citizenship of São Paulo, Fernando José da Costa, told the Morning newspaper, gives Young pan, that people who skip the line for the vaccine against Covid-19 or professionals who apply the immunizing agent without a certificate can be fined in the state. The law was created in February this year and, at the end of May, the governor João Doria made a decree regulating it and creating a special commission. Now, after the complaint, the suspect of committing the infraction will be summoned and will have the right to present a defense. The commission will decide on the acquittal or application of a fine, ranging from R$1,500 to R$98,600. In addition to the administrative infraction, in cases where there is evidence of crime, the public ministry you will also be asked to ascertain. The secretary pointed out that there is no task force to investigate violations, so the role of the population in monitoring is essential. Complaints can be made, respecting anonymity, to the Ombudsman, by telephone number 11 3291-2624 or by e-mail Ouviria@justica.sp.gov.br. It is worth remembering that this decree will not punish people covered by the xepa of vaccination, which is the leftover vaccine in ampoules.

*The name has been changed to preserve the confidentiality of the source

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