Coronavirus

Health Ministry yet to publish plans to vaccinate young children

covid vaccine children
Photo: Pfizer

Brazil’s Health Ministry has not yet published any plans to purchase or distribute the newly-approved Covid vaccine for children aged six months to 4 years.

Federal health regulator Anvisa approved Pfizer’s vaccine for younger children last Friday.

In a communiqué to the press, the ministry said on Monday the vaccine will be offered once its technicians “approve” the recommendation. No deadline was given.

Pfizer’s office in Brazil said that the vaccines for younger kids can be purchased under the terms of its current contract with the government, as can the Omicron boosters, which have not yet been approved by Anvisa.

As The Brazilian Report has shown, under the Bolsonaro administration, the Health Ministry delayed Covid vaccination for adults, teenagers, and children. As of July, over six months into the campaign, the government had not yet shipped enough Covid vaccines for municipalities to immunize all children aged 5 to 11.

Observa Infância, a child health watchdog linked to the respected federal research institution Fiocruz, recently noted that less than 2 percent of kids aged 3-4 had completed a two-jab series — around 100,000 children out of the more than 5.8 million in that age group. 

So far, only Sinovac’s CoronaVac is available to vaccinate children aged 3 and 4 in Brazil, since the newly-approved Pfizer vaccine for younger kids is yet to be imported.