Federal lab hopes to vaccinate “130 million Brazilians” in 2021

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After positive preliminary results from the Oxford/AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine trials, biological research organization Fiocruz has increased its Covid-19 immunization targets for 2021, intending to vaccinate 130 million Brazilians within one year.

This increase is down to results from the Oxford/AstraZeneca trials, showing that the most efficient method of administration consists of one half dose of the vaccine, followed by a full dose. As this means immunization will require a smaller amount of vaccines than first thought, Fiocruz eyes distributing the vaccine to 60 percent of the population in 2021.

According to Marco Krieger, vice president of Fiocruz’s Production and Innovation in Health department, the original plan was to produce 200 million doses of the vaccine to protect 100 million people. “Now, we will be able to produce 260 million doses and vaccinate 130 million Brazilians [in 2021].”

Of the handful of potential coronavirus vaccines in late-stage testing, the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine is the only one with a purchase and distribution agreement already in place with Brazil’s federal government. 

Representatives from Oxford University and AstraZeneca are set to meet with Brazil’s Health Ministry, Fiocruz, and health regulators Anvisa today, where they are expected to formalize a request for emergency distribution of the vaccine. If approved, it would mean the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine could be available as soon as January 2021.