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COVID-19 and its effects in Latin America

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  • January 20, 22 - 3:36 pm - Reuters

    CoronaVac vaccine for children is approved in Brazil

    Brazil‘s health watchdog agency Anvisa decided to approve this Thursday the emergency immunization of children and teenagers without comorbidities between 6 and 17 years old against COVID-19 with the CoronaVac vaccine.

    The board unanimously followed the recommendation presented by the agency’s general manager of medicines, Gustavo Mendes, that for this target audience this immunizer can reduce the occurrence of serious cases, hospitalizations, and deaths by COVID-19

    This means that the agency partially agreed with the request made by the Butantan Institute, linked to the São Paulo government.

    The original request was to use CoronaVac applied to children and teenagers between 3 and 17 years old, regardless of whether they have any type of immunity compromise. But the board understood that not enough data was presented to guarantee security for this extended public.

    Photo: Public Photos/GOVESP

    For this age group, CoronaVac will be inoculated in two doses, with an interval of 28 days.

    The approval was possible because of a phase 3 study carry out with children in Chile. Last August, when Butantan Institute first presented the request the agency rejected the use of the immunizer for the pediatric public.

    The CoronaVac vaccine – developed by the Chinese laboratory Sinovac, which has Butantan as a partner in Brazil – received authorization for emergency use in adults and was the first to be used in Brazil, with strong use at the beginning of last year. Later, it was supplanted by other immunizers.

    (Translated by LABS)

  • January 17, 22 - 11:35 am - Reuters

    In Brazil, 79% of the population supports children vaccination against COVID-19, says Datafolha

    The vaccination of children between 5 and 11 years old against COVID-19 is supported by 79% of the population, according to a Datafolha survey published in the newspaper Folha de S.Paulo this Monday. According to the survey, 17% of those interviewed were against the vaccination of children, while 4% did not know how to respond.

    The first child that received Pfizer‘s pediatric vaccine against COVID-19, last Friday, was an indigenous boy, of the Xavante ethnicity. The immunization took place almost a year after the start of vaccination in adults in Brazil and almost a month after the National Health Surveillance Agency (Anvisa) approved the vaccine for people between 5 and 11 years old.

    Davi Seremramiwe receives a pediatric vaccine against Covid-19 in São Paulo. 01/14/2022. Photo: REUTERS/Amanda Perobelli

    The start of vaccination was postponed by the Ministry of Health, which decided to carry out a public comment on the subject, which is unusual since Anvisa is legally responsible for certifying the safety and efficacy of vaccines in Brazil. At the time, the Minister of Health, Marcelo Queiroga, said that there was no urgency to start vaccinating children against the coronavirus.

    President Jair Bolsonaro, who often and without a scientific basis questions the effectiveness and safety of vaccines, is against immunizing children against Covid-19. The president said last week that vaccinating children is not justified, despite the fact that more than 300 children in Brazil have already died from the disease.

    Without presenting data or evidence, Bolsonaro often raises doubts about the safety of the vaccine and said he will not vaccinate his 11-year-old daughter against the disease.

    Bolsonaro also said in a broadcast on a social network that he had asked for the names of Anvisa technicians responsible for the decision to approve Pfizer’s pediatric vaccine to publicize them, which led to a wave of threats against officials and directors of the regulatory body.

    The president also questioned in an interview what Anvisa’s interests would be in approving the immunizer for children.

    In response to the insinuation, the president of Anvisa, Antônio Barra Torres, released a note in which he asked the president to denounce him for corruption if he has evidence or retracts. Bolsonaro, in turn, said he had not made any accusations and called the Anvisa president’s note aggressive.

    Datafolha interviewed 2,023 people over 16 years old between January 12 and 13. The margin of error is two percentage points.

    (Translated by LABS)

  • January 11, 22 - 5:51 pm - Fabiane Ziolla Menezes

    Mexican President Lopez Obrador’s family self-isolating after he contracts COVID-19

    Members of the family of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador are in isolation and being tested for COVID-19 this Tuesday after the head of state announced the day before that he was diagnosed with the disease for the second time.

    López Obrador, who announced he had tested positive for the coronavirus on Monday night, may have met with at least four cabinet members, including Interior Minister Adan Augusto López, on the same day, reported the Mexican newspaper El Universal.

    A spokesperson for the president would not confirm how many people he may have had contact with before testing positive but said there are “members of the cabinet and their family” and that “so far none have shown symptoms, and those who have been tested have tested negative.” “the spokesman told Reuters.

    López Obrador’s wife, Beatriz Gutiérrez, said in a post on her Facebook page that she and the couple’s son, Jesus, are in isolation as a precaution, but they have not tested positive, nor do they show symptoms of COVID-19.

  • January 10, 22 - 2:50 pm - Reuters

    Brazil to receive 4.3 million Pfizer’s pediatric doses against COVID-19

    Brazil will receive 600,000 additional doses of Pfizer‘s pediatric vaccine against Covid-19 in January, totaling 4.3 million doses this month, the Ministry of Health said on Monday. The additional doses represent an advance on vaccines that would be sent in the following months, according to minister Marcelo Queiroga.

    “We managed to anticipate with Pfizer over 600,000 doses of the pediatric vaccine in January. There will be 4.3 million doses of vaccine,” said the minister, according to a statement from the ministry.

    The Ministry of Health only included the pediatric vaccine (5 to 11 years old) in the national calendar of vaccination against COVID-19 last week, 20 days after the National Health Surveillance Agency (Anvisa) approved the application of immunizing agents in children.

    Vaccination in Sao Paulo, Brazil, 23/12/2021. Photo: REUTERS/Amanda Perobelli

    The ministry’s delay came amid criticism by President Jair Bolsonaro of childhood vaccination against COVID-19, with unfounded accusations about the safety of the immunizing agent. Bolsonaro even considered regrettable the decision of Anvisa to authorize the vaccine and repeated that his 11-years-old daughter, Laura, will not be vaccinated.

    Given the president’s resistance, the ministry created a public consultation via the Internet and a public hearing to debate the guidelines for childhood vaccination, which further delayed the start of the process.

    The first batch of pediatric vaccines is scheduled to arrive in the country this week. In total, 20 million pediatric doses were purchased with delivery in the first quarter, according to the ministry.

    Translated by LABS

  • January 05, 22 - 6:52 pm - Reuters

    Brazilian Ministry of Health confirms vaccination of children against COVID and waives the requirement for a medical prescription

    Vaccination of children between 5 and 11 years old against COVID-19 will begin this month in Brazil, the country’s Ministry of Health said in a statement, adding that immunization could take place without a medical prescription.

    The decision was announced this Wednesday afternoon at a press conference led by the Minister of Health, Marcelo Queiroga, and other authorities.

    Health professional prepares vaccine dose against COVID-19 in Brasília, Brazil 02/02/2021. Photo: REUTERS/Ueslei Marcelino

    The ministry withdrew from demanding a medical prescription, in a retreat from what government officials had been indicating in recent days. President Jair Bolsonaro has publicly expressed his opposition to the vaccination of children.

    In a statement, the Ministry said that Brazil will receive 3.7 million doses of pediatric vaccine from Pfizer by the end of January and that it has already ordered a total of 20 million doses for this target group.

    Translated by LABS

  • January 04, 22 - 4:21 pm - LABS

    Nearly 100,000 participate in public comment on child vaccination in Brazil

    The public comment carried out by Brazil‘s Ministry of Health on vaccination of children between 5 and 11 years old against COVID-19 had almost 100,000 participants. The majority of them, announced the extraordinary secretary for the COVID-19 crisis, Rosane Leite de Melo, are against the need to present a medical prescription for vaccination and do not agree with the mandatory nature of the vaccine.

    This Tuesday, the Ministry held a public hearing with experts about the matter and promised to present tomorrow (5) its official position regarding the vaccination of children and teenagers against COVID-19.

    The Ministry, influenced by President Jair Bolsonaro, has been insisting on making the medical prescription and the signature of an assent term by the parents of each child a mandatory condition to the immunization of this group.

    Anvisa, Brazil‘s health watchdog, approved the vaccination of children with Pfizer’s immunizer two weeks ago.

    On Monday (3), the Minister of Health, Marcelo Queiroga, said that doses for children would start arriving in Brazil in the second half of January. Pfizer laboratory confirmed the information.

  • January 03, 22 - 12:36 pm - LABS

    Number of flights to return to pre-pandemic levels between March and April, say Brazilian airlines

    In December, Brazillian airlines registered an average of 2,036 daily departures – 85.3% of the domestic network operating in early March 2020, before the COVID-19 pandemic. ABEAR, the association that gathers the airlines in the country, said that the normality of the air operation should be verified in March or April 2022.

    “These data show the resilience of Brazilian airlines, despite the difficulties generated by the pandemic and the rise in aviation kerosene and the constant dollar rate records against the real, as more than 50% of the sector’s costs are dollarized”, said the president of ABEAR, Eduardo Sanovicz, in a post published on the institution’s website.

    The progress of the vaccination program in the country is an essential driver of this projection. So far, 77.8% of the Brazilian population has taken one dose of the vaccine against COVID-19, and 67.2%, two doses.

    In the international market, airlines reached 41.1% of their flight capacity, compared to the pre-pandemic period. In this case, emphasized Sanovicz, full recovery should be achieved by the end of 2023.

  • December 25, 21 - 8:35 pm - LABS

    Ecuador makes vaccination against COVID-19 mandatory

    Ecuador is the first Latin American country to make vaccination against COVID-19 mandatory. The decision was taken on the night of the 23rd. In a statement, the ministry said that the decision “was taken due to the current epidemiological state, that is, the increase in infections and the circulation of new worrying variants”.

    coronavirus vaccine illustrative image
    Photo: Shutterstock

    The order is immediate and intended for anyone over 5 years of age, although there is an emphasis on the population over 12 years of age.

    The government will require establishments that offer non-essential services, such as restaurants, cinemas, and supermarkets, to ask for proof of vaccination – in the case of Ecuador, a printed card. On the other hand, the vaccination card will not be requested at health posts, schools, and workplaces.

  • December 22, 21 - 3:55 pm - LABS

    Brazil’s government to conduct voting over children vaccination in the country

    The Brazilian government will open a public consultation about vaccinating children against COVID-19. It’s the first time that the government conducts voting over a stage of vaccination. Brazilians can vote through the website of the Health Ministry up to January 2.

    Last week, Brazil‘s President Jair Bolsonaro asked for the names of the members of the Brazilian health agency that approved the indication of Pfizer’s vaccine for children 5 to 11 years old.

    He said that mothers and fathers have the right “to know the name of the people who approved the vaccine from 5 years for your child”. So far, Europe health regulator has recommended the approval of the vaccine for children under 12. France has approved the vaccination of children of this age with Pfizer, and Australia will also vaccinate children from 5 years old in January.

    U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also recommends the vaccine for ages 5 and older.

  • November 16, 21 - 4:37 pm - LABS

    Brazil surpasses the United States and has more people fully vaccinated against COVID-19

    Brazil has surpassed the United States in the rate of those fully vaccinated against COVID-19, according to the platform Our World in Data, from the University of Oxford, England.

    On November 15, Brazil reached 59.8% of those vaccinated with the two doses, while in the United States the rate was 57.6%. More than 125 million Brazilians have already got the two shots of the vaccine, according to the consortium of news outlets that gather data directly from the state health secretariats. 

    Other Latin American countries that have already surpassed the United States in the proportion of people fully immunized against COVID-19 are Chile (81.8%), Uruguay (75.6)%, and Argentina (60%).

    Brazilian Health Ministry announced on Tuesday, 16, that it will extend the booster dose of the COVID-19 vaccine for all people over 18 years. The interval for applying the booster dose has been reduced to five months after receiving the second dose.

    The government also ruled that people who were immunized with Janssen’s vaccine, initially a single dose, will have to receive a second dose, two months after the first. Only after that, they will also be entitled to a booster dose.

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