Brazil has only purchased half of announced vaccines

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Photo: Ale Silva/Shutterstock

The Health Ministry admitted to overestimating announcements of Covid-19 vaccine purchases. In prior advertising campaigns, the government had claimed to have secured a total of 560 million doses, but officials admitted to Congress that the real value is 280 million. The remaining shots are “under negotiation” with manufacturers.

On March 24, the government published a 30-second video on Twitter with the first mention of the 560-million vaccine total, repeated by Health Minister Marcelo Queiroga one week later. Following those statements, lawmakers formally asked the minister to show proof of this estimate.

At least eight state capitals have halted the distribution of second doses of the CoronaVac. On Monday, Supreme Court Justice Ricardo Lewandowski ruled that elected officials could be held criminally accountable for delays.

The problem is partly due to a March 21 guidance issued by the Health Ministry (which was then under former Health Minister Eduardo Pazuello) telling states and cities to use stocks reserved for booster shots as first doses, in order to broaden vaccination coverage. The government promises to amend the situation this week.