The Minister of Health, Marcelo Queiroga, signaled again this Friday (14th) that the Jair Bolsonaro (PL) government does not intend to distribute self-tests to detect Covid-19 through the SUS.
“Brazil is a very heterogeneous country, with many contrasts. The allocation of this resource for acquiring self-tests, distributing them to the general population, may not have resulted in the public policy that we expect”, the minister told the press.
Pressured by the high demand for tests caused by the advancement of the ômicron variant, the ministry asked on Thursday (13) for Anvisa (National Health Surveillance Agency) to regulate the product already used for months in several countries.
This type of test is not authorized in the country because of a 2015 Anvisa resolution. By rule, the ministry needs to propose a public policy to allow the delivery of exams to the lay public.
Testing in Brazil is focused on clinics, pharmacies and public services, which are unable to meet the demand due to the circulation of the Ômicron variant.
According to the note from the Ministry of Health, self-testing is an additional strategy to prevent and interrupt the chain of transmission of Covid-19, along with vaccination, the use of masks and social distancing.
“It is a pacified subject the need to make new tests available in pharmacies”, said Queiroga this Friday (14).
To release the commercialization of the product, the collegiate board of Anvisa will have to approve a resolution. The agency has not yet signaled when it will vote on this text.
The minister also stated that the federal government already delivers exams to states and municipalities. The folder has bet on antigen tests, considered fast and accurate. Queiroga’s promise is to ship around 30 million units this month.
Queiroga also said that he will meet this Friday (14th) with local health secretaries to discuss the advancement of the ômicron. “The expectation is that, as in other countries, there will not be such great pressure on hospital care [causada pela variante]”, said the minister.
On Wednesday (12), Conass, the council that represents the state secretaries, asked Queiroga to recognize the new wave of Covid and support measures such as the expansion of testing and vaccine coverage.
He also called for a campaign to encourage the vaccination of children, a sensitive issue in the federal government, as Bolsonaro distorts data and discourages the immunization of young people.
Brazil received the first batch with 1.2 million pediatric doses from Pfizer on Thursday (13). The second, in the same volume, will be delivered on Sunday (16), announced the executive secretary of the Ministry of Health, Rodrigo Cruz, on Twitter. The expectation is to receive another 1.8 million doses on the 27th.
By the end of the quarter, the government plans to have 20 million vaccines for the 5-11 age group.
Minister Queiroga also said this Friday (14) that the self-test can help to unburden health units. “Many people who look for UBS are not positive [infectado]. It presses. With this possibility, it not only expands the diagnosis, but also reduces the pressure”, he said.
In the technical note sent to Anvisa, the ministry advises that patients who have detected the infection by self-test seek care at a health unit or teleservice to confirm the diagnosis and receive guidance.
“The main objective is to expand the access of the population in order to identify contaminated people, guide isolation and thus reduce the spread of the Sars-Cov-2 virus and the pandemic”, says Saúde.
Scientific entities demanded this Tuesday (11) a broader testing policy and permission to test at home. The demand for tests soared with the advance of contamination at the turn of the year.
In a note released this Wednesday (12), Abramed (Brazilian Association of Diagnostic Medicine) warned of the risk of lack of necessary supplies in Covid-19 exams. The entity recommended prioritization of exams to patients “according to a severity scale”.