At least six states rule out anticipating the second dose of the vaccine against Covid-19 from this Wednesday (15), which goes against the plan of the Ministry of Health.
The idea of the paste is to reduce the application interval from 12 to 8 weeks, but some governments say that this will be impossible due to the lack of immunizing agents.
The reduction of the interval was announced by Minister Marcelo Queiroga (Health) in August. However, until this Wednesday morning (15), the folder had not released a technical note with guidelines for states and municipalities.
São Paulo, Bahia, Rio Grande do Sul, Santa Catarina, Espírito Santo and Rio Grande do Norte told the sheet that the measure is unfeasible until the federal government sends more doses, especially from AstraZeneca.
In Brazil, the immunizing agent is produced by Fiocruz (Oswaldo Cruz Foundation). States have complained, in recent days, of the lack of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine for the application of the second dose.
The city of São Paulo, for example, began using Pfizer’s immunization agent on Monday (13) to complete the vaccination started with AstraZeneca. This is called interchangeability or heterologous vaccination, a practice that, according to studies, does not offer risks and may even bring advantages in some cases.
There is a dispute between the state of São Paulo, owned by João Doria (PSDB), and the Jair Bolsonaro administration. The toucan threatened to go to the STF (Supreme Court), again, to guarantee more doses.
In a statement, the São Paulo Health Department denied the possibility of any anticipation.
“The reduction of the time interval between the first and second dose depends primarily on the sending of doses by the Ministry of Health, and it is also up to the federal folder to guarantee remittances at an opportune time for the application of the second dose”, said the organ.
The scenario is repeated in Santa Catarina. “For now, with the vaccines provided, there is no possibility of reducing this period,” said, in a statement, the State Health Department.
In Rio Grande do Norte, on Monday the State Department of Health even recommended the reduction of AstraZeneca’s range. However, on the same day, the government had to back down for lack of doses.
“Sesap [secretaria de saúde] issued an information note to all municipalities advising that the previously stipulated period of 90 days for the application of D2 be resumed [segunda dose] of the Oxford/AstraZeneca immunizing agent, so that it is possible to manage the demand of people to be vaccinated with the second dose,” said the organ, through a statement.
THE sheet 11 states and the Federal District said they are still awaiting guidance from the Ministry of Health to make changes to immunization programs. Amapá, Goiás, Piauí, Rondônia and Sergipe did not respond.
At least seven states have already reduced the range of one of the immunizers — Pfizer or AstraZeneca. Deadlines ranging from four to ten weeks were defined.
This scenario is registered in Acre, Amazonas, Mato Grosso do Sul, Pernambuco, Ceará, Espírito Santo and Rio de Janeiro. Espírito Santo said that it has reduced the interval to ten weeks, but will not be able to shorten it to eight, as promised by the federal government.
The information that there would be a reduction in the interval from this Wednesday was reinforced by Queiroga in an interview on Monday in front of the Ministry of Health, in Brasília.
“From the 15th [de setembro], there is how to ensure vaccines for this [redução do intervalo das doses]. If by chance AstraZeneca, due to operational issues, is absent, eventually interchangeability is used,” said the minister.
The Ministry of Health said, in a statement, that the reduction of the interval between doses of Pfizer and AstraZeneca is expected to take place in the second half of September, without specifying a date.
When asked about the possibility of interchangeability between doses because of the shortage of vaccines in some states, the folder said that there is no lack of any immunizing agent in the country.
“The Ministry of Health recommends the interchangeability of Covid-19 vaccines only for pregnant women who have taken the first dose of AstraZeneca and must complete the vaccination schedule with a vaccine that does not have the viral vector, such as Pfizer or Coronavac,” he said.
This is not what happens in Maranhão, for example. According to the State Health Department, 29 of the 217 municipalities in Maranhão stopped vaccination with doses of AstraZeneca due to lack of immunizing agent.
“The National Plan for the Operationalization of Vaccination against Covid-19 was updated this Monday (13) by the Ministry of Health, but there is no reduction in the interval between doses, as announced by the ministry itself,” said the secretariat, in note.
Vice-president of Conass (Council of State Health Secretaries) in the Southeast region, Nésio Fernandes said that more important than reducing the interval of the second dose is to ensure the booster dose for people over 60 years of age.
“We are awaiting a position from the Ministry of Health. According to the dose schedule published to date, we believe it is not possible to meet D1 [primeira dose], anticipate D2 [segunda dose] and apply the booster dose,” he said.
According to sources heard by sheet, the Ministry of Health should still make an announcement about vaccines on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, states that had shortened the range could backtrack on the measure. With that, the deadline can go back to 12 weeks.
“Today we are using the 30-day interval. In the next few days, depending on the scenario, we can resume the 90-day period,” said Renata Quiles, responsible for the State Immunization Plan of Acre and coordinator of the state’s cold chain.