January 26, 21 - 11:59 am - LABS

Brazil will have its first Covax vaccines in March, but shipping will be limited until June, says deputy director of PAHO

The first doses of vaccines acquired via Covax consortium should start arriving in Brazil in early March, but in limited quantities, and until June, the deputy director of Pan American Health Organization (PAHO/WHO), the epidemiologist Jarbas Barbosa da Silva, told Folha de S.Paulo.

He said that the situation would improve in the second half of the year when more suppliers are expected to enter the initiative. Currently, Brazil’s agreement at Covax, an initiative that tracks different vaccines under development, provides for 42.5 million doses by the end of 2021. The consortium’s goal is to allow global access to vaccines.

Barbosa estimates that it will “take months” for countries to control the transmission of COVID-19. For him, it is “very unlikely” that the world will be able to achieve collective immunity in 2021.

“In the first half of 2022, if everyone works together, perhaps,” he told Folha de S.Paulo, stressing that the new strains of Sars-Cov-2 need to be watched up close.

Last Friday, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced that Covax has signed an advance purchase agreement with Pfizer for up to 40 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, which has already received WHO emergency use listing. Additionally, nearly 150 million doses of the AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine candidate are anticipated to be available in Q1 2021, via existing agreements with the Serum Institute of India (SII) and AstraZeneca.

Therefore, the alliance is on track to deliver around 1.8 billion doses by the end of the year – at least 1.3 billion doses to 92 lower-income economies (including the ones from Latin America).