Health Minister Queiroga complains about vaccine litigation in Brazil

Health Minister Marcelo Queiroga. Photo: Tony Winston/MS
Health Minister Marcelo Queiroga. Photo: Tony Winston/MS

During a meeting at a Senate committee set up to discuss anti-pandemic measures, Health Minister Marcelo Queiroga warned that Brazil could run out of coronavirus vaccines “if everyone goes to court” to demand access to CoronaVac doses.

Citing the example of northeastern city João Pessoa, which obtained an injunction to receive vaccines in order to provide enough second doses for its partially immunized population, Mr. Queiroga complained that individual legal requests may “disrupt the harmony of the National Immunization Program.”

The Health Minister acknowledged delays in the supply of CoronaVac doses, as thousands of Brazilians risk having their immunization compromised due to an absence of second shots. Health regulator Anvisa approved the use of the Chinese-made vaccine under the stipulation that booster jabs are administered within 28 days of the first dose. João Pessoa’s legal request stressed that the majority of the city’s senior citizens aged under 74 have been waiting for second shots for over 30 days.

“CoronaVac has caused us some concern,” said Mr. Queiroga. “With the delays in receiving inputs from China, there are difficulties with the second dose.”

On Saturday, the federal government reduced its forecast for vaccine deliveries in May. While the administration expected to receive 46.9 million immunizers, that total has been reduced to 32.4 million. Mr. Queiroga blames this on the delay of CoronaVac inputs and Anvisa’s lack of approval for Indian vaccine Covaxin.