By Marcelo Brandão
Brazil is set to immunize by the end of the year all of its population apt to receive the vaccine, Health Minister Eduardo Pazuello said at a Senate hearing last week.
The minister went on to state that half of the target public will be vaccinated in the first half-year, and the other half later in the year. “This is our challenge. It’s what we’re seeking to do and will do,” Pazuello declared.
Not included as apt to be vaccinated are those younger than 18 and pregnant or breastfeeding women, as no conclusive studies on the effects of the vaccine on this public have been concluded, the ministry argued.
The minister praised the work of Butantan Institute and the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation (Fiocruz) in the production of vaccines Coronavac and Oxford/AstraZeneca, respectively. Butantan, he pointed out, works to manufacture 8 million to 12 million doses a month. Fiocruz, in turn, may produce up to a monthly 20 million doses, as soon as the foundation starts manufacturing the active pharmaceutical ingredient, estimated to begin in July. Before that, still in the first half of the year, Fiocruz should deliver 100 million doses.
During the hearing, the minister criticized the conditions imposed by the other laboratory producing the vaccine, like Pfizer, Janssen, Moderna, and Sputnik V. In his view, the vaccine is too either expensive or insufficient, or its delivery is tardy. As a result, he believes Brazil should become a producer of the vaccine, not a purchaser.
Brazil’s population is officially estimated at 212.69 million people.