The Brazilian Ministry of Health confirmed that a shipment of 1.2 million COVID-19 vaccines for children—originally scheduled to be delivered today—arrived early on Sunday.
Brazil began its vaccination program for children between the ages of 5 and 11 this week with the arrival of two shipments of Pfizer vaccines. By the end of January, the government expects to have received 4.3 million doses—just over 10% required to vaccinate the country’s more than 20 million children.
The vaccination program began after the Brazilian Health Regulatory Agency (ANVISA) greenlit vaccinations for children in December. However, President Jair Bolsonaro’s skepticism towards vaccines and his decision to hold public consultations following ANVISA’s recommendations delayed the campaign.
With daily cases averaging over 97,000 last week, expect the mass immunization drive to accelerate as the Omicron variant’s spread pushes Brazilians to get vaccinated. As Brazil expects to receive almost 20 million doses allocated for children by March, expect the majority to be administered first doses, especially given promising vaccination rates among Brazil’s adolescent population.
Nevertheless, the recent surge in cases is likely to further burden Brazil’s public health system and threaten economic recovery. Therefore, protests voicing disapproval of the government’s inaction is likely in the medium-term.
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Riley is an Analyst and a regular contributor to the Daily Brief, he focuses on security issues in Europe and the Middle East/North Africa.