Butantan changes schedule after exclusion of CoronaVac from booster doses

posted on 08/31/2021 06:00

  (credit: Helia Scheppa/SEI)

(credit: Helia Scheppa/SEI)

By delivering, yesterday, the largest batch of vaccine against covid-19 CoronaVac to the Ministry of Health — 10 million units — the Butantan Institute said it will not complete the delivery of 100 million doses of vaccine to the federal government this month. The reason is that the exclusion of the immunizing agent from the list of drugs to be used as a booster dose for the elderly and immunosuppressed caused the institute to change its strategy.

“We won’t deliver the 54 million doses until tomorrow (today). We are rescheduling deliveries due to two facts: the first fact was the manifestation of the Ministry (of Health), which excluded the vaccine for the third dose. So that changes a little bit. We are rescheduling because we have other contracts to be serviced, other states, other countries”, explained the director of Butantan, Dimas Covas.

The contract with the ministry called for the completion of delivery by the end of September, but the institute had been claiming that it would advance the shipments by the end of this month. With yesterday’s delivery, Butantan adds 92.8 million CoronaVac units transferred to the federal government. The first part of the contract, of 46 million doses, was concluded on May 12th. To complete the second, of 54 million injections, about 7.1 million are still to be delivered.

The ministry announced last week that a booster dose should be applied to seniors over 70 and immunosuppressed people, but the vaccine that should be used preferably is that of Pfizer. “In the absence of this immunizing agent, the alternative should be made with viral vector vaccines, Janssen or AstaZeneca”, said the folder.

Contrary to what the ministry says, the government of São Paulo announced a few days ago that the booster dose could also be made with CoronaVac. Experts, however, advocate using only Pfizer as the booster vaccine.

Covas said that, within this new reality, the delivery will be completed before the end of September, “as soon as possible”. “Within this new reality, because every day the Ministry has been giving news to discredit the vaccine (CoronaVac), so we are going to rethink the schedule”, he said.