Pfizer pediatric vaccines arrive in Brazil

pfizer children vaccine shipment
Government workers unload a shipment of Pfizer pediatric doses at the Campinas-Viracopos Airport. Photo: Sandro Dias/TV Brasil

A shipment containing 1.25 million pediatric doses of Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine arrived in Brazil on Thursday. The shots, which are the equivalent of one-third of adult doses, should be cleared by health regulators before being distributed to states and municipalities, a process that takes approximately 24 hours.

This is Brazil’s first vaccine delivery since regulators greenlit the immunization of children aged 5 to 11 on December 16. The delay was mainly due to the Brazilian government’s unwillingness to vaccinate children — which President Jair Bolsonaro described as “a shot in the dark” that could provoke unwanted effects.

But a survey by the state government of São Paulo, Brazil’s most populous state, shows that the population is open to immunization. Eighty-four percent of parents say they are in favor of vaccinating their children. Support is higher among women and residents of Greater São Paulo.

By the end of the month, the government expects to have received 4.3 million pediatric doses from Pfizer — just over 10 percent of what will be needed to vaccinate the 20.5 million children aged 5 to 11 in the country. Each will receive two doses in an eight-week interval.