Gov’t plans vaccination campaign against COVID-19 in 2022

The vaccines in the program will be required definitive registration

Published in 05/10/2021 - 15:10 By Andreia Verdélio - Brasília

Brazil’s Health Minister Marcelo Queiroga today (Oct. 5) said that a new contract between the government and the Butantan Institute for the acquisition of vaccines against COVID-19 is pending definitive registration of the inoculation by the country’s drug regulator Anvisa.

Queiroga returned to work at the seat of the Health Ministry this Tuesday, after a trip to New York where he was quarantined following a positive COVID-19 diagnosis.

As it stands today, four vaccines are offered to the population under the country’s National Immunization Program (PNI): Pfizer/BioNTech and Oxford/AstraZeneca, which have been granted definitive registration; and Janssen/Johnson&JOhnson and CoronaVAc, which have been authorized for emergency use only.

In January, the government signed a deal with the Butantan Institute for the acquisition of 100 million doses of CoronaVac, which was finalized last month.

“We had a sanitary emergency, these vaccines were made in record time, and Anvisa granted emergency registration, not just to CoronaVac, but also to Janssen. To be part of the national calendar, vaccines will be required definitive registration,” he said. “Once Anvisa grants definitive registration, the Health Ministry considers incorporating the vaccine into the program,” he told journalists.

The more vaccines are offered, the better for pulling prices down, Queiroga argued. “If the price drops, it’s better because I can use these funds to treat people with post-COVID syndrome, for instance. I also need to maintain ICU beds available in 2022. We have budgetary  constraints, this is no surprise to anyone, and we have to overcome this together,” he said, mentioning talks between the government and Congress.

2022 campaign

According to the minister, the ministry’s technical staff is currently planning the vaccination campaign against COVID-19 in 2022. By the end of the year, he went on to say, Brazil is expected to receive 100 million doses of Pfizer, some 30 million of Janssen, in addition to doses from the Covax Facility consortium of the World Health Organization (WHO).

In Queiroga’s view, there is no doubt that the vaccination campaign contributes to an easier epidemiological landscape, with lower hospital admissions and deaths caused by COVID-19. “We’re witnessing a sustained reduction in the number of deaths, despite the case tally, which is due to a wider opening in the economy, but this has not resulted in a significant increase in admissions,” he declared.

Thus far, the government has distributed 301 million doses of the vaccine against COVID-19. Of these, 242.7 million have been administered—147.9 million of which as the first dose, 94.7 million as the second or only dose. More than 1.3 million were booster doses for elders, immunosupressed people, and health agents.

Translation: Fabrício Ferreira -  Edition: Denise Griesinger / Nira Foster

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