December 13, 20 - 1:28 pm - LABS

Vaccine race: Chile prepares to start Pfizer’s COVID-19 immunization; Brazil presents plan

Chile is getting ready to start an immunization campaign with Pfizer‘s COVID-19 vaccine, if it wins approval, Health Minister Enrique Paris said on Saturday, reported Reuters.

Next week, the state Institute of Public Health will review data on the performance of the vaccine, which has been approved for the use in the United States. Chilean authorities will make an official decision based on the review of the United States’ data.

Also, according to Reuters, the Brazilian government unveiled its long-awaited national vaccination plan against COVID-19 on Saturday with an initial goal of vaccinating 51 million people, or about one-fourth of the population, in the first half of 2021.

In a document sent to the Supreme Court, which had given the government a deadline to draw up the plan, the Health Ministry said 108 million doses will be available for priority vaccination of vulnerable groups that include health workers, elderly people and indigenous communities.

The plan says 70% of the population – or about 148 million of Brazil’s 212 million people – need to be immunized to stop the virus spreading. The current plan covers just about one third of that goal.

The plan, which says each person will need two doses, does not mention a starting date for vaccination of the population nor does it detail the supplies of vaccines that it will need.

A poll by DataFolha published on Saturday showed that a growing number of Brazilians – 22% – say they are unwilling to take any COVID-19 vaccine, and most said they would not accept one made by China, as President Jair Bolsonaro‘s comments stoke skepticism.