Brazil minister: COVID-19 vaccination for kids to be monitored

The first batch of Pfizer shots for children landed today

Published in 13/01/2022 - 15:30 By Daniel Mello - Brasília

Brazil’s Health Minister Marcelo Queiroga said today (Jan. 13) that the country’s immunization campaign against COVID-19 will be monitored in a bid to identify any adverse response to the vaccine. However, he added, the Pfizer shot has been administered in millions of children in other countries with no problems.

A total of 1.24 million doses of the vaccine against COVID-19 for children arrived today at São Paulo’s Viracopos airport from US laboratory Pfizer. The shipment is the first of three expected to land in the country this month. By the end of March, the government should receive 20 million shots.

The administration of the Pfizer vaccine in 5–11-year-olds was authorized in December by the country’s national drug regulator Anvisa. The government included this age group in the campaign last week.

Queiroga mentioned that, though new, these shots have been administered in hospitals across the world. “The administration of this shot started in November, chiefly in the US. Over 8 million doses have been administered in the US, in children aged five to 11, with no major adverse effects. […] Its safety has been attested not just by Anvisa but also other regulators,” he declared, after receiving the first batch of COVID-19 shots for children at the ministry’s distribution center in the city of Guarulhos, São Paulo.

Variants

The inoculation helps shield the country from the Omicron variant of the coronavirus as well as others that may emerge in the future, he went on to say. “Strongly vaccinated countries, like Brazil, have higher chances of overcoming Omicron and other potential variants with a high capacity to generate mutations,” he stated.

Lower death toll and hospitalization

The minister also talked about the role of vaccination in preventing hospitalizations and severe cases of the disease. “Most of those being admitted to hospital and ICU units are people who have not received the vaccine,” he stressed. “In the last six months, we saw a significant plunge in deaths, courtesy of public policies and the vaccination campaign,” he added.

As a result, the minister urged people who have not taken the second or booster shot to go to vaccination stations. “This advice must really be underscored,” he pointed out.

Translation: Fabrício Ferreira -  Edition: Kelly Oliveira

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