The governor of São Paulo, João Doria (PSDB), turned a press conference this Wednesday (8) into an event in defense of Coronavac. The immunizing agent has been in the hot seat in recent days, especially due to its use in the third dose of Covid vaccine in the elderly.
Such as sheet showed on Saturday, several experts claim that there is no scientific basis for using Coronavac in the way it has been defended by the São Paulo government. According to them, applying an additional dose of this vaccine is not enough to generate the necessary protection in the elderly.
This Wednesday, at Palácio dos Bandeirantes, Doria answered the questions. “I don’t mean to make any accusations against any scientist or doctor, but it is necessary to clearly restore the information,” said the governor during a traditional press meeting in which he usually talks about measures to combat the coronavirus.
To defend the use of Coronavac, Doria has appointed her team of experts, the so-called Scientific Committee, a group created in August after the original board, dubbed the Contingency Center, was dissolved amid disagreements. The subject is sensitive because the vaccine manufactured in Brazil by the Butantan Institute is the main showcase for the toucan in his project to run for President in 2022.
In addition, the Ministry of Health left Coronavac out of its list of immunizers to be used as a third dose in people over 70 or immunosuppressed patients. For the federal government, the vaccine boost should preferably be done with Pfizer.
“We have to include all the vaccines for the application of the third dose, both for the elderly and for those who are immunosuppressed”, stated the Secretary of Health of São Paulo, Jean Gorinchteyn.
“We cannot choose immunizations today because we have an extremely important protective response,” said Gorinchteyn, in an appeal to the Ministry of Health. population.”
Doctor João Gabbardo, executive coordinator of the Scientific Committee, reinforced the point. “We are maintaining the discourse that we already had at the beginning of vaccination, that people should take the vaccine that is available, because all of them are safe and have their effectiveness proven.”
According to him, “there is no justification for saying that one platform or manufacturer has an advantage over another”.
Eloísa Bonfá, clinical director of Hospital das Clínicas and member of the Scientific Committee, stated that there is still no quality evidence to help define whether the third dose should be given with the same vaccine or another.
“It is worth doing with the available vaccine, which has already proven effective and continues to be effective. It is a team that is winning,” said Bonfá. “The lack of evidence cannot be used as evidence for or against [o uso dos imunizantes]”.
Nephrologist José Medina, who is also a member of the committee, followed the same line. “The third dose proposal is a recent proposal. So, whether the same vaccine platform should be used in the third dose or whether it should be mixed is still a matter that does not have solid scientific evidence,” he said.
Medina stated that a study has been carried out in a group of transplant patients with a high mortality rate due to coronaviruses. In these cases, even after the third dose, there were no satisfactory results, which leads professionals to study the application of a fourth dose.
At the press conference, Doria also discussed the recent decision by Anvisa to stop 12 million doses of Coronavac bottled in a factory without authorization. There are 25 batches of the immunizing agent that are in this situation.
The measure is precautionary and prohibits the distribution and use of these batches because they were bottled in a plant not approved by Anvisa in the evaluation of emergency use of the vaccine. The decision is valid for 90 days.
According to Anvisa, the batches were filled at a unit of the Chinese company Sinovac, a partner of the Butantan Institute, which did not undergo inspection or analysis by the agency.
“The quality of the Coronavac vaccine is undeniable, Anvisa itself has already manifested itself in this regard,” said Doria. According to him, there was no occurrence with people who took the lots.
Secretary Jean Gorinchteyn also defended the vaccine. “All doses underwent strict quality control, either by the Butantan Institute and by the National Quality Control Institute, linked to Fiocruz”.
Butantan stated that the change in the manufacturing location was detected, and Anvisa, notified. Amidst the increase in Sinovac’s production capacity, the banned batches were made in a new filling line in the company’s complex.
Documentation has already been sent to Anvisa and another part should be sent this week.
“This entire new filling line has been certified by the NMPA (National Medical Products Administration) of China. This inspection is being forwarded to Anvisa, so that Anvisa recognizes that the quality control was carried out as it should be,” said Rui Curi, director of the Butantan Institute.