Federal vaccination campaign to begin January 20, says Health Minister

vaccination health minister
Health Minister Eduardo Pazuello during his meeting with mayors. Photo: Euzivaldo Queiroz/MS

In a videoconference with 130 Brazilian mayors this morning, Health Minister Eduardo Pazuello confirmed that the federal government’s coronavirus vaccination campaign will begin next Wednesday, January 20. The announced start date was confirmed by dozens of mayors on social media before Mr. Pazuello went public later in the afternoon.

The beginning of the vaccination campaign relies on health regulators Anvisa signing off on at least one of two vaccines pending approval. Immunizers from the São Paulo-based Butantan Biological Institute and AstraZeneca are awaiting the green light for emergency use in the country. Anvisa’s board will meet on Sunday to decide on the requests.

According to Gean Loureiro, mayor of Florianópolis, the government promised to distribute 8 million doses of vaccine to states on Tuesday, allowing immunization to begin on Wednesday — pending Anvisa’s approval.

Jonas Donizete, the president of the National Mayors’ Front, said that 5 million Brazilians will be vaccinated in the first phase of the campaign, according to the Health Ministry’s explanations.

“The vaccines will be distributed based on three criteria: first, for senior citizens in long-stay facilities, then, in the second phase, 70 percent of frontline health professionals will be inoculated. And the mayors requested [the inclusion of] education workers, they should receive the vaccine by April.”

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