Explaining Brazil #153: More variants, fewer vaccines

As vaccine rollouts stumble in multiple Brazilian regions, health officials confirm the country's first cases of the Indian variant

Commonly known as the “Indian variant,” the dreaded B.1.617 coronavirus mutation has officially arrived in Brazil. The World Health Organization classifies B.1.617 as a significant threat due to its high potential for contagion.

It’s widely suspected of playing a huge role in the brutal coronavirus surge across India in recent months and has already spread to dozens of countries. In the United Kingdom — where cases are on the rise — the government upgraded the mutation to a “variant of concern,” the highest level of official alert.

And this new, more aggressive variant couldn’t have arrived in Brazil at a worse time. Experts predict a new surge of infections and deaths, and vaccination continues at a snail’s pace, with one in five cities facing shortages last week. 

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  • Euan Marshall is an editor at The Brazilian Report and also hosts the Explaining Brazil podcast in the absence of Gustavo Ribeiro.

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