In an early Christmas reward to some, Chile and Mexico started immunizations on Thursday after granting emergency approval for the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine. However in Brazil, the place the Covid-19 dying toll is much larger, lifesaving inoculation could possibly be out of attain for months — the nation’s Well being Ministry introduced final week that vaccinations would start in February 2021.
As a result of Brazil has a robust monitor file of nationwide vaccination, she says there was a widespread expectation that Brazilians would have a regional benefit within the battle towards the pandemic.
“Brazil has all the time been the chief within the implementation of latest vaccines. We handle to realize excessive vaccine protection, despite the fact that it’s a continental nation with very totally different areas, equivalent to São Paulo with a excessive inhabitants density and Amazonas, with enormous distances, (and) an indigenous inhabitants,” she mentioned.
“Individuals had been anticipating that the Brazilian vaccination program would begin earlier,” she mentioned. However “different international locations of the Americas that ready themselves are already beginning the vaccination, and Brazil has been left behind.”
With greater than 7.4 million individuals recognized with Covid-19 in Brazil and new variants of the virus showing overseas, there’s little purpose to assume that the pandemic is truly fizzling out — a declare that Bolsonaro repeatedly made this 12 months, whilst circumstances continued to mount within the nation. Solely the US and India have reported extra coronavirus infections than Brazil.
The Brazilian President additionally made headlines final week with an outlandish try and sow doubt about potential uncomfortable side effects from the Pfizer vaccine. “If you happen to develop into an alligator, that’s your downside,” he warned. “If you happen to develop into Superman, or develop a beard as a lady, or a person’s voice turns into excessive pitched, I’ve nothing to do with that … or worse intrude in individuals’s immune techniques.”
Pfizer didn’t reply to CNN’s request for remark.
Domingues believes that Brazil’s federal authorities was caught unprepared to make use of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, after throwing its help behind a vaccine candidate by Oxford College and AstraZeneca, which have partnered with native basis Fiocruz. In response to a press release printed final week by the Well being Ministry, Brazil has agreed to amass greater than 100 million doses of that vaccine, which stays in improvement.
In the meantime fears linger over the affect of politics on the method, after a 12 months of bitter clashes between Bolsonaro and state governors over the nation’s pandemic response.
The President has made no secret of preferring the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine to a vaccine developed by Chinese language maker Sinovac Biotech, which is backed by the state of Sao Paulo and in improvement domestically with Brazilian lab Butantan Institute.
ANVISA and the Brazilian Well being Ministry didn’t reply to requests for remark.
Reporting contributed by Tatiana Arias, Jennifer Z. Deaton, Natalie Gallon and Stefano Pozzebon.