Amid criticism for the delay in purchasing inputs and equipment, the Minister of Health, Eduardo Pazuello, said last Wednesday (6), in his first statement on the national television and radio network, that Brazil is prepared and already guaranteed 354 million doses of vaccine against COVID-19. He also reiterated that the vaccination will start in January, although the country does not yet have any approved immunizers.
Pazuello also said that the government would publish a Provisional Measure on Wednesday night that deals with “exceptional measures” for the acquisition of vaccines and supplies, including that the coordination of the entire national vaccination plan will be a responsibility of the Ministry of Health, which will purchase immunizers even before the health regulator Anvisa’s approval.
The minister began the statement saying that the country has 60 million syringes and needles in stock in the states and municipalities and that it will receive, in February, another 30 million from the association of manufacturers of the input in Brazil and another 8 million units of the materials through the Pan American Health Organization, PAHO.
Then, Pazuello said that the country has already guaranteed 354 million doses of vaccines against COVID-19, mentioning the 254 million doses of the agreement with the Oxford / AstraZeneca vaccine, via Fiocruz, and the negotiation for the acquisition of another 10 million doses from CoronaVac, from Chinese Sinovac, without mentioning the agreement between the laboratory, the state of São Paulo and the Butantan Institute, which guaranteed 46 million doses for the state.
He also said that the Brazilian government is negotiating the acquisition of vaccine doses from the Gamaleya laboratories in Russia; Janssen, Pfizer, and Moderna, from the United States; and Barat Biotech, from India. At no time did Pazuello clarify whether the Ministry of Health will interfere in the agreement between São Paulo and AstraZeneca.
The minister ended his speech by stating that the vaccine against COVID-19 will be free and “not mandatory” – as President Jair Bolsonaro often defends, who has repeatedly said that he will not be vaccinated.