Brazilian federal health regulator Anvisa approved the emergency use of the Pfizer vaccine for children aged 5 to 11 — a move eagerly anticipated by millions of families seeking to protect some of the last remaining populational groups left out of the vaccination campaign.
About 70 million children have become eligible to receive two jabs of the vaccine, each containing one-third of the adult dose. In clinical trials, the vaccine was shown to generate significant immune protection in children.
The pediatric vaccination schedule will still require two doses, but according to Pfizer, the company’s contract with the Health Ministry for 100 million vaccine shots to be delivered in 2022 includes the possibility of modified versions of the immunizer — with tweaks both for children and versions to combat the Omicron variant, for example.
With a request from the government, the company could provide the doses without the need to amend the procurement deal. But it remains unclear whether the administration has prepared to launch a pediatric Covid vaccine rollout — especially since President Jair Bolsonaro is himself against immunizing minors.
In the near future, Anvisa will also analyze a request from the São Paulo-based Butantan Institute to use the Sinovac vaccine on children and teenagers aged 3 to 17. The institute filed yesterday a request for emergency use, and the agency now has 30 days to reply.