The Minister of Health, Marcelo Queiroga, criticized on Monday, 13, what he called the “tower of Babel” in the criteria for applying vaccines across the country. According to the minister, health managers should use vaccines from the to do as a second dose for those who took AstraZeneca only in exceptional cases.
“If, by chance, AstraZeneca, due to operational issues, is absent, eventually interchangeability can be used. Now, the criterion cannot be missed a day and it already changes. If not, we cannot move forward. Our campaign it’s going very well,” declared Queiroga.
“The idea is for the vaccine to be homologous. The heterologous dose is for the reinforcement or additional dose”, explained the minister. “It is (additional dose) is for seniors over 70 and immunocompromised. There are states that have already announced that they will vaccinate over 60 years. So it’s difficult, how do we manage to conduct a vaccination campaign with this kind of vaccine tower of babel?”.
The State of São Paulo has about 1 million people who have not received a second dose of AstraZeneca’s immunizer for lack of immunizing agents and, therefore, decided to apply from this Monday to Pfizer to avoid delaying the vaccination campaign.
Regarding the use of Coronavac for the booster dose, Queiroga once again demanded the presentation of data by the Butantan Institute to Anvisa, as a way to release the definitive registration of the vaccine produced in partnership with the Chinese laboratory Sinovac. “What science has pointed out is that the heterologous system is more sufficient,” said the minister regarding the booster dose.
The Ministry of Health does not recommend the use of Coronavac in the elderly, which has happened in São Paulo. “I say to health managers, follow the PNI (National Immunization Program), and together we are going to make a more efficient campaign”, asked the minister.
Queiroga also minimized the emergence of variants of the new coronavirus. “Every day we see that it won’t be as big a problem as we feared,” he said about the Delta variant. “Variant Mu it is of importance, not yet of concern.”
Amid pressure from the president Jair Bolsonaro, repeated that the end of mandatory use of masks should be announced soon. “We are very close to reaching this in Brazil. But our campaign needs to advance further”, he pondered.
Reduction of interval between doses
Despite the difficulty in finding AstraZeneca vaccines across the country, Health Minister Marcelo Queiroga said on Monday that the interval between doses of the immunizing agent will be reduced from 12 to 8 weeks from the next 15th. Pfizer’s break from September had already been announced by Queiroga last month. Coronavac has a shorter interval of 28 days, and Janssen’s vaccine is a single dose.
Despite changes in the ranges, the criteria adopted still differ from the manufacturers’ recommendations. Pfizer recommends a 21-day interval between doses and AstraZeneca, 12 weeks, as is the case today.