Pfizer rollout draws massive lines at São Paulo healthcare units

Pfizer rollout draws massive lines at São Paulo healthcare units
São Paulo begins rollout out Pfizer shots. Photo: Govesp

On the first day of distribution of Pfizer coronavirus vaccines in São Paulo, eligible citizens flocked to vaccination centers around the city. Massive demand coupled with logistics blunders by local health authorities led to snaking queues, with people waiting hours to receive their shot.

The Pfizer vaccine is by far Brazil’s most effective available immunizer at preventing symptomatic Covid-19 infections, with an efficacy of up to 95 percent. 

The Chinese-made CoronaVac — which accounts for the bulk of vaccines administered in Brazil — has an overall efficacy of 50.4 percent, according to the São Paulo-based Butantan Institute, in charge of producing the immunizer in Brazil. Meanwhile, AstraZeneca’s shot is 76-percent effective at reducing the risk of symptomatic disease 15 days or more after receiving two doses.

But only 500,000 Pfizer shots have been distributed so far, which goes some way toward explaining citizens’ urgency to get their hands on them.

By 2 pm, some centers had already ran out of stock, as The Brazilian Report verified.

At one health center in the southern São Paulo neighborhood of Campo Grande, senior citizens and their family members were left frustrated upon realizing the center would not be distributing Pfizer shots. That didn’t prevent most from getting inoculated, however.

“I am in favor of science, it is very important to get vaccinated,” said 62-year-old Marina Domingos, adding she would take any vaccine available — in her case, AstraZeneca.