BRASILIA | The Brazilian Ministry of Health has announced plans to vaccinate “the general population” within 16 months of the approval of a vaccine, according to the national immunization plan unveiled on Tuesday.
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Once “the approval has been obtained for a vaccine, or after an authorization for emergency use”, the distribution will be carried out “in five days” in the 27 states of Brazil as well as in the capital Brasilia, explained Minister Eduardo Pazuello. in a document specifying the vaccination plan, which had been requested by the Federal Supreme Court (TSF), the highest court in the country.
On Monday, the judge of the TSF Ricard Lewandowski had requested clarification from the minister as to the dates of “start and end of the national vaccination plan”, Mr. Pazuella responding that such information would depend on the date of approval of the vaccine by the Brazilian health regulator, Anvisa.
However, the minister estimated at “about four months” the time necessary for the vaccination of the four risk groups identified by the largest South American country: people over 75 years old, health professionals, adults over 60 years old. years in residence and indigenous peoples.
Secondly, “a period of 12 months will be necessary to finalize the vaccination of the whole population, depending on the quantity of vaccines available”, the end of the vaccination program can be envisaged in “approximately 16 months” , according to the document sent to the TSF.
The second most affected country in the world behind the United States, Brazil has nearly 7 million positive cases since the start of the pandemic, while 182,799 Brazilians have lost their lives.
The vaccination plan presented by the government of far-right President Jair Bolsonaro has been the subject of strong criticism in the national press, which denounced the “incompetence” of the executive in the face of a program deemed unsuitable.
The various vaccines are also the subject of a political struggle, in particular between Mr. Bolsonaro and the governor of Sao Paulo, Joao Doria, expected to be a future presidential candidate.
The two men clash over the CoronaVac vaccine, developed by the Chinese laboratory Sinovac and the Butantan institute in Sao Paulo, nicknamed “the Chinese vaccine of Joao Doria” by the Brazilian president, who excluded him from the national vaccination program , unlike the vaccines from Pfizer and AstraZeneca.
For his part, Mr. Doria intends to use the CoronaVac to start as soon as possible to vaccinate the population of Sao Paulo.
The Ministry of Health, which officially launches the vaccination plan on Wednesday, aims to immunize at least 70% of the population in order to curb the pandemic, or nearly 150 million people.