CoronaVac rollouts halted in seven state capitals

CoronaVac rollouts halted in seven state capitals
The CoronaVac accounts for most vaccines administered in Brazil so far. Photo: Nelson Antoine/Shutterstock

Rio de Janeiro and Fortaleza resumed distribution of second doses of the Chinese-made CoronaVac on Monday. But rollouts are still on hold in at least seven state capitals.

Brazil’s Health Ministry initially told state and municipal administrators to stockpile enough vaccines to allow citizens to receive crucial second doses. However, this recommendation changed amid a push to get more jabs in arms, causing inventory problems. Incumbent Health Minister Marcelo Queiroga blamed his predecessor, Eduardo Pazuello, for the interruption. The recommendation was issued in February and March — but Mr. Queiroga revoked it once he took office.

The two men are among five officials summoned to speak before the Senate’s Covid hearings committee this week. The inquiry will examine the government’s pandemic response and assess why major urban centers have faced so many hiccups in the process of immunizing their populations. Many patients have now missed the 30-day recommended window to receive a second dose, but the government urges them to take the booster shot regardless of delays.

Today, the Health Ministry distributed 500,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine to Brazilian states — half of an initial 1-million-dose batch. The remaining doses will be delivered to be administered as second jabs, which must be taken within an interval of 12 weeks.